U.K. exporters reported lower sales in the first quarter after Covid-19 and the completion of Brexit added to shipping delays, higher transport costs, and more extensive paperwork.
According to the British Chambers of Commerce, 41% of businesses had recorded decreased overseas sales in the first quarter of the Brexit arrangement.
Hotels, retailers, and catering firms were the worst hit, according to the group’s survey of more than 2,900 U.K. exporters.
The figures add to evidence that Britain’s exit from the European Union has upended supply chains also damaged by the pandemic. Companies have been complaining about additional red tape such as export health certificates to shift goods into the bloc.
The British Chambers of Commerce called on the UK government to get back round the table with the EU for fresh negotiations to lower some of the barriers to trade created by Mr. Johnson’s Christmas Eve Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
“Given that export sales are at some of the lowest levels ever recorded in the history of our data, the fact that the situation is continuing to deteriorate is concerning,” said Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the BCC.
While some of the collapses in trade with continental Europe were due to the Covid pandemic, the BCC said many firms were blaming Brexit for shipping delays, increased cost of transporting goods, and extensive new paperwork requirements.