This report summarises findings collected as part of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Quarterly Economic Survey for Q1 2021. Fieldwork was conducted between 15th February and 8th March.
The full economic report painted an overall picture of increasing confidence albeit based against short term challenges as the economy begins to reopen and firms can at last see an end to the current Covid crisis. As part of this research firms were asked to share their experience to date in trading with the European Union under the new Trade & Cooperation Agreement.
In summary the concerns raised by businesses fall into two very broad categories, which we have called adjustments and structural. Adjustments cover challenges in getting used to new trade procedures, including rules of origin declarations and other new paperwork requirements. We suggest that in time these should begin to ease as companies acclimatise.
The second category, structural, is more concerning and covers those challenges for which there appears not to be a solution under the current TCA and which for many firms will mean scaling back or withdrawing entirely from trading with the EU.
Regional support exists to help firms deal with some of the challenges which exist and I am grateful to Squire Patton Boggs, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Leeds City Region Enterprise partnership for supporting this research.
Martin Hathaway (Managing Director of Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce)
TRADE WITH THE EU SINCE 1ST
Following the end of the transition period on December 31st 2020, and the eleventh hour signing of the UKEU Trade & Co-operation Agreement (TCA), firms were given only the shortest amount of time to prepare for new trade procedures. The TCA made no provision for trade in services and for manufacturers, new border checks were put in place as we left the single market and customs union.
Fieldwork for the Q1 economic survey began 46 days into the new regime, with companies being asked to share details of how they were finding things. The following two graphs are extracted from the Q1 quarterly economic survey and provide summary of international sales activities since January.
QUESTION : HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY DIFFICULTIES IMPORTING / EXPORTING SINCE THE END OF TRANSITION ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE EU?
Just under a quarter of manufacturers said they hadn’t faced any diculties moving goods, whilst around a third of service sector firms also said they had experienced no disruption. However, 60% of manufacturing firms said they had experienced diculties exporting and 1 in 2 faced challenges bringing goods into the UK. Roughly 4 in 10 service sector businesses said they had experienced diculties either importing or exporting.
You can read the full EU Trade Report Q1 2021 here.