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UK firms say Brexit deal hampering business performance

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Anti-Brexit activists marking the fifth anniversary of the UK's EU membership referendum demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London, United Kingdom on June 23, 2021. (David Cliff - Anadolu Agency)
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Dec 23, 2022 - 06:28 AM

LONDON (AA) – British firms admit that the Brexit trade deal with the European Union under the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) has been a “tough one” and they are facing numerous hardships, making bilateral trade more difficult to manage.

The UK and EU finalized the agreement on the TCA on Dec. 24, 2020 to allow tariff-free trade when Brexit took effect.

But according to the latest data from a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), of more than 1,168 businesses, structural barriers to UK-EU trade have become more visible since British firms started abiding by the TCA in 2021.

More than three quarters (77%) of British firms said the TCA is not enabling their business to grow or increase sales.

“It has coincided with the start of a forecast lengthy period of recession and economic and supply chain shocks caused by the war in Ukraine,” the report said.

The survey also showed that as many as 42% of product lines previously exported from the UK to the EU were stopped during the first 15 months of the TCA.

“In 2022, UK goods exports to the EU recovered through the end of Q1 and into Q2, but by the end of Q3, goods exports (which had been inflated by fuel exports to the EU) had tipped once again into negative territory, and services exports remained flat,” it noted.

In addition, as many as 56% of the companies are having difficulty adapting to the new rules for trading goods, while 45% said they are having problems dealing with the new rules for trading services.

Around 44% of the firms also said they are having difficulties obtaining visas for staff.

The report also said these problems remain “unresolvable” due to the current UK political context.

“This is especially relevant given the current state of EU-UK relations, mostly caused by the continued disagreements over the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, which worsened through 2022 and remain uncertain at the year’s end.”

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