Almost Half of U.K. Exporters Say Sales Dropped After Brexit
U.K. exporters reported lower sales in the first quarter after Covid-19 and the completion of Brexit added to shipping delays, higher transport costs and more extensive paperwork.
The British Chambers of Commerce said 41% of businesses had lower revenue from overseas sales in the first quarter of the year, up from 38% in the final three months of 2020. Hotels, retailers and catering firms were the worst hit, according to the group’s survey of more than 2,900 U.K. exporters.
The figures add to evidence that Britain’s exit from the European Union has upended supply chains also damaged by the pandemic. Companies have been complaining about additional red tape such as export health certificates to shift goods into the bloc. The goverment has described border friction as “teething problems.”
“Given that export sales are at some of the lowest levels ever recorded in the history of our data, the fact that situation is continuing to deteriorate is concerning,” said Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the BCC. “The difficulties exporters are facing are not just teething problems. They are structural issues that, if they continue to go un-addressed, could lead to long-term, potentially irreversible weakness.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.