The Old Dairy Brewery in Tenterden, Kent, is suffering from Brexit, and is ready to pull out of exporting to EU countries. This may surprise some as, before Brexit, it was held up by the government as an example of a business that had done all the right things to get ready for the new trading procedures. But now they are finding it too costly and onerous to comply with all those procedures. Brexit, they say, has reduced their exports by 95%.
Paperwork, checks and fees are Brexit barriers
First, they need to get their goods to trade shows. This means actually shipping bottles of their beer to the locations where potential customers, both domestic and retail, can sample it before purchase. But the paperwork, checks and fees necessary to ship samples is too costly in time and money. Before Brexit it was as easy to send samples to Rotterdam as to Rochdale. Not anymore.
Different nations, different procedures
Each sovereign nation within the EU has different procedures for third country importers. The UK, along with Belarus, are the only European third countries facing such delays (the other non-EU European states have negotiated special status). So, it is not a matter of getting used to one routine for EU trade. They want to sell this beer from Kent in diverse EU countries. They have to get their heads around many different procedures – this all costs employee time and money and possibly needs employing agents in the countries they are hoping to export to.
Op-Brock doesn’t help!
Then the British exporter has to take account of the well-known delays on the road (the M20) to cross the Channel. There is an estimated 13-hour delay now, but sometimes it goes up to six days, or several weeks, and sometimes much longer, especially if any other product in the lorry is held up due to incorrect paperwork. So, the importer decides to give this Kent beer a miss, as delivery times cannot be predicted.
One solution: move your business onto the continent
Another dealer in alcoholic drinks, wine-merchant Daniel Lambert, has announced that he became so frustrated by these post-Brexit trade conditions that he relocated to France. There he has no problem in receiving the wine consignments from Germany. If tax-paying British traders have to relocate to the EU to continue their business, this does not look good for the receipts HMRC needs to pay for public services here in the UK.
Brexit: a Jobsworth’s charter
How was Brexit supposed to improve trade? Andy Harrington in his video about this says he often used to ask this from those who voted Leave, but never received any clear answer. Even though the Old Dairy were praised by the government for their knowledge of the forthcoming trade procedures, this knowledge has not helped them at all when faced with the realities of post-Brexit trade with the EU.