Regardless of whether the EU and the UK reach a trade deal, entrepreneurs will face a catastrophic level of bureaucracy and chaos at the border.
With the beginning of 2021, the transition period in which EU-British cooperation is taking place under the old conditions will expire. When Brexit becomes a reality, companies with a combined annual turnover of one trillion dollars will have to adapt to the new rules, requirements and restrictions. Until now, they have been able to trade freely in the EU’s domestic market. From the new year, companies will be required to complete customs and security declarations and register in three electronic databases at once to gain access to Europe. The problem is that no one is preparing for this, Reuters writes.
“It’s going to be a bloodbath”, – Tony Shally, Managing Director of the freight company Espace Europe, told the US agency.
Even the government is predicting huge queues of thousands of trucks at border posts. And that doesn’t depend on whether the parties reach a trade agreement.
Last year, the UK imported goods from the EU worth US$331 billion. Exports amounted to 179 billion dollars. To ensure that trade continues after Brexit, the government has published a 270-page instruction manual. The conditions set out there are not encouraging for business.
Customs brokers say that the cost of processing documents may exceed the cost of transporting small quantities of goods. Logistics industry analysts estimate that an additional 215 million customs declarations will need to be completed each year after Brexit. As a result, British companies may simply be forced out of the European market.
“If you can get your goods elsewhere, why not?”, – comments customs expert Anna Jezevska.
Given that similar products can be purchased elsewhere, with less hassle and uncertainty, trading with the UK becomes meaningless for European firms, the expert believes.
The head of one of the British supermarkets, whose name is not mentioned, told Reuters that shipments from Europe may also be disrupted.
“If these are fresh produce, and you lose a day, break the schedule, everything will collapse”, – the businessman complained.
Richard Burnett, head of the British Trucking Association, believes that many European trucks will simply stop travelling to the UK for fear of spending a few days in line at the border.