Small exporters halt EU sales

Research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggests a significant minority of small exporters have ceased selling to the EU due to post-Brexit transition issues.

According to the survey of 1,483 small firms conducted between 1–15 March, 23% of exporters have temporarily halted sales to their EU customers. In addition, a further 4% have decided to stop selling into the bloc permanently following the introduction of the new trading rules at the start of this year.

The survey also found that 11% of exporters are considering a permanent halt, while the same proportion have established, or are thinking of establishing, a presence within an EU country to make the exporting process easier. Around 9% of respondents also said they are either considering, or already using, warehouses in Northern Ireland or mainland Europe for the same purpose. Commenting on the findings, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said, “Three months on from the end of the transition period, what we hoped would prove to be teething problems are in danger of becoming permanent, systemic ones. While larger firms have the resources and bandwidth to overcome them regardless, smaller traders are struggling, and considering whether exports are worth the effort any more.”

All details are correct at the time of writing (12 April 2021)