SMEs struggling to fulfill EU-bound orders post-Brexit

Export | Surveys

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Two in five (39%) small businesses admit they aren’t clear on the new rules for posting their goods to the EU since the UK’s exit from the European Union, equating up to a million UK small businesses, according to new research by Post Office.

Of the small business decision makers surveyed, over nine in ten (92%) said the UK’s exit from the EU will affect their business in some way, even though 70% said they are confident their business can navigate the impact of this.

While one sixth (15%) aren’t even aware of the new EU posting requirements that have come into force, those who are remain confused, as almost one in five (19%) small businesses admit they don’t understand the new rules and have experienced problems trying to post their goods abroad since the 1st January.

When posting anywhere outside the UK from England, Scotland or Wales, all goods or gifts must now have a customs declaration form attached. For customers posting from Northern Ireland, customs forms are only required for gifts or goods being sent to non-EU destinations. Critically, the customs declaration form must have all relevant fields completed in order for gifts and goods to pass through customs and avoid being returned.

Half (50%) of small businesses with less than 50 employees post to the EU on at least a weekly basis – and 43% of these small businesses think the customs declaration form will take a while to get used to, while the same number (43%) think completing the form may slow things down for businesses.

Mark Siviter, Managing Director of Mails & Retail at Post Office said: “Many small businesses are already facing challenges this year owing to the pandemic and that’s why we’re providing as much support as possible to ensure they can easily navigate the new rules for posting abroad. We’ve launched customs forms and new supporting information online, which means that customers can fill them in at home or work, before bringing them into branch. Taking the time to complete these forms fully and correctly is the best way to avoid the risk of goods being sent back.

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