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Freight forwarders ask: Is the government listening?

Few companies have registered for a new government online system designed to protect value added tax revenues on foreign parcels in the event of a no-deal Brexit, leading the UK representative body for freight forwarding and logistics companies to question whether Government is listening to advice from industry experts.

Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said: “We are not surprised that few companies have signed up for the scheme.

“In principle, the UK’s VAT policy on small parcels, relative mainly to e-commerce trade, expatriates the liability for UK import VAT to businesses that are not established in the UK, thereby significantly reducing HMRC’s ability to enforce VAT compliance and revenue collection; potentially forcing freight forwarders and customs agents to become indirect representatives liable for import VAT and other import charges.

“BIFA and its Customs Policy Group advised HMRC that this would not work in practice, but that advice appears to have been ignored.

“This is not the first time and several recent policy announcements have caused us significant concerns relative to the UK’s Brexit preparations.

“Earlier this year we expressed our concerns privately about the contradictory information on the use of EORI numbers when completing customs entries post-Brexit. The initial guidance was that they could be used, late in the day the decision was reversed, and trade was advised that this was not possible and that EU traders would have to register and obtain a UK EORI number.

“We have also aired our concerns publicly about Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), the Government’s flagship policy aimed at alleviating the congestion at the frontier and facilitating the work of customs agents. We are still lacking detail of the data required to complete the supplementary declaration despite the fact that the original Brexit date has long since passed.

“We are still uncertain whether the proposed TSP procedures will work, post October 31st, when systems are largely untried, communication links between the parties involved on the processes are not established, many remain unaware of their responsibilities, and the freight forwarding companies that are at the heart of international trade movements appear to be excluded from them.”

As an apolitical body, BIFA’s says its policy for many years has been to work positively with government departures and provide constructive criticism and practical suggestions as to how to improve policies, where it is deemed appropriate.

However, it says Brexit has highlighted differences between government policy and the sector of the economy that is responsible for managing the supply chains that underpin the UK’s visible international trade, sometimes straining the relationship and, on occasion, resulting in Government consultation that has been rushed and led to some public policy announcements being made before they have been fully thought through.

Keen concluded: “To date, BIFA has refrained from publicly criticising Government departments. However, recent policy announcements have caused us significant concerns relative to the UK’s Brexit preparations and we feel it appropriate to highlight areas where planning needs considerable improvement.

“We echo the recent words of the Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier and agree that with less than four months to go before the UK is expected to leave the EU, momentum appears to have slowed in Whitehall. Departments must listen to trade associations such as BIFA, urgently step up their preparations and ensure that the country is ready.”

Image by koon boh Goh from Pixabay

Brexit: Assessing the UK’s imports and exports

How will Brexit impact the UK’s trade? It’s the question burning in every businessperson’s mind, and it doesn’t seem to be getting an answer any time soon.

According to the Independent, many companies are struggling to decide on importing and exporting in light of confusion over the direction Brexit will take businesses. But what is the current state of the nation’s trading with the wider world?

In this article British brand Gola, that is renowned for its silver trainers, take an in-depth look at the UK’s imports and exports, from the items we sell the most of to what we’re buying in, as well as which countries are our top import and export locations… 

The key terms to know! 

Before we delve further into what the UK has to offer in terms of trade, let’s break down some of the terminology: 

  • Single market — The European Single Market is a single market that guarantees the free movement of goods, services, capital, and labour within the EU. 
  • Customs Union — A customs union is where a group of states or countries agree to charge the same import duties to each other. 
  • Import and export — an easy one to start with, imports are items and goods we buy into the country. Exports are items and goods we sell to other countries. 
  • Trade deficit and trade surplus — these two terms come under the umbrella of the balance of trade. It is essentially the difference between monetary value of a country’s exports and imports. If a country is importing more goods than it is exporting, then the country has a trade deficit. A trade surplus occurs if a country is exporting more than it is importing. Generally, a trade deficit is considered concerning as it is seen as the country being unable to produce enough goods to supply its people, requiring them to import more.  
  • “Special relationship” — The oft-cited “special relationship” with the US boils down to our trade relationship. In 2016, the UK exported £100 billion worth of goods and services to the US, running a trade surplus with the US of £34 billion. 

It is important to note that, regarding the “special relationship” with the US, the UK does export more to the US than any other country. However, when considering the EU as a whole with the same trade laws etc, rather than 27 separate countries, the EU imports more from the UK than the US by far.

What does the UK export? 

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), in 2016 the UK’s top export item was cars, which accounted for 12% of the overall $374 billion export value that year.

Other popular UK products were gas turbines (3.5%), packaged medicaments (5.2%), gold (4.0%), crude petroleum (3.4%), and hard liquor (2.1%). We also export a fair amount of food and drink, with items such as whisky and salmon popular abroad. 

The BBC also points out that exports and imports are not just physical goods. In this digital age, it’s easier than ever to offer services as exports too, and the UK does just that, via financial services, IT services, tourism, and more. 

Where exactly is the UK exporting to? 

In 2016, our top export destinations were: 

  1. United States (14%)
  2. Germany (9.5%) 
  3. The Netherlands (6.0%) 
  4. France (6.0%) 
  5. Switzerland (5.1%) 

China, one of the countries the UK is eyeing up for a potential trade deal after Brexit, accounted for 5%. Again, it is worth considering that Europe as a whole accounted for 55% of our top export destinations. 

What does the UK import? 

We are importing rather similar items as we’re exporting. Top imports into the UK in 2016 included gold (8.2%), packaged medicaments (3.1%), cars (7.8%) and vehicle parts (2.5%). 

Where does the UK import from? 

For 2016, the top origins of the UK’s imported products were: 

  1. Germany (14%) 
  2. China (9.8%) 
  3. United States (7.5%) 
  4. The Netherlands (7.3%) 
  5. France (5.8%) 

The UK’s trade deficit and trade surplus 

Despite our popular products, the nation is sitting with a trade deficit to the EU — we import more from the EU than we sell to the EU. In 2017, we exported £274 billion worth to the EU, and imported £341 billion’s worth from the EU. In fact, the only countries in the EU that bought more from us than we bought from them were Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, and Malta. Our biggest trade deficit is to Germany, who sold us £26 billion more than we sold to them. 

The UK also has a trade deficit with Asia, having sold £20 billion less in goods and services than we bought in. 

As previously mentioned, we have a trade surplus with the United States, as well as with Africa. 

A trade deficit is generally viewed in a poor light, as it is basically another form of debt: the UK imported $88.4 billion from Germany in 2016. Germany imported $35.5 billion from the UK, making a difference of $52.9 billion owed by the UK to Germany. 

With uncertainty abound about the impact of Brexit on imports and exports, it remains to be seen how UK businesses will continue to trade abroad, and if focuses will shift.

Sources: 

https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/gbr/

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/internationaltrade/articles/whodoestheuktradewith/2017-02-21

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41413558

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-uk-imports-exports-uncertainty-british-import-export-business-a8589796.html

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/051515/pros-cons-trade-deficit.asp

https://fullfact.org/europe/what-trade-deficit-and-do-we-have-one-eu/

https://www.dw.com/en/is-germanys-big-export-surplus-a-problem/a-18365722

Freight trade welcomes HMRC’s ‘no deal’ TSP extension

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has welcomed the decision by HMRC to extend Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“Having criticised HMRC when it originally published its Transitional Simplified Procedures in February, we now welcome the news that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the date when the first supplementary customs declarations must be submitted, and any import duties must be paid, has been extended to October 4,” said Robert Keen, director general of BIFA. 

“We also welcome the news that TSP will be available for any port or airport where goods are being brought into the UK from the EU, not just ro-ro ports.

“But most importantly, we are pleased that HMRC has agreed to allow freight forwarders to operate TSP on behalf of their clients.”

Following the original announcement about TSP in February, BIFA, along with other associations, lobbied hard with HMRC. 

BIFA said the that it understood some of the easements contained in the TSP may make it easier for new applicants to obtain these authorisations.

But it also explained that there did not appear to be equivalent liberalisation of the regimes for existing holders, such as freight forwarders, despite the fact that they are the businesses that are most likely to be fully prepared to operate TSP.

The extension addresses the fact that the original documentation was skewed in favour of new applicants for authorisations and actually discriminated against existing holders, particularly relating to special procedures.

BIFA understands that HMRC’s original aim of publishing the Transitional Simplified Procedures in the event of a non-deal Brexit was to make importing easier by simplifying the declarations at the border and postponing the payment of import duties that would otherwise be due.

The new extension announced by HMRC provides more time to make the necessary preparations, fully test the systems, establish the communication links between the parties involved in the processes, and make sure that everyone concerned is aware of their responsibilities.

Keen concludes: “This is a very significant easement of policy and one for which BIFA, amongst others, lobbied hard to ensure all modes were treated equally. It should be noted that much confusion and effort could have been saved if Government had consulted with the trade in the first place.

“By allowing freight forwarders to operate TSP, the extension recognises the critical role that the freight forwarder plays as an intermediary in the UK’s supply chain.”

Temporary tariff regime as ‘no deal’ Brexit looms large

Government has published details of the UK’s temporary tariff regime for no deal, designed to minimise costs to business and consumers while protecting vulnerable industries as the risk of a no deal Brexit increases.

This regime is temporary, and the government says it would closely monitor the effects of these tariffs on the UK economy. It would apply for up to 12 months while a full consultation and review on a permanent approach to tariffs is undertaken.

British businesses would not pay customs duties on the majority of goods when importing into the UK if we leave the European Union without an agreement.

Under the temporary tariff, 87% of total imports to the UK by value would be eligible for tariff free access.

Tariffs would still apply to 13% of goods imported into the UK. This includes:

  • a mixture of tariffs and quotas on beef, lamb, pork, poultry and some dairy to support farmers and producers who have historically been protected through high EU tariffs
  • retaining a number of tariffs on finished vehicles in order to support the automotive sector and in light of broader challenging market conditions. However, car makers relying on EU supply chains would not face additional tariffs on car parts imported from the EU to prevent disruption to supply chains
  • in addition, there are a number of sectors where tariffs help provide support for UK producers against unfair global trading practices, such as dumping and state subsidies. Tariffs would be retained for these products, including certain ceramics, fertiliser and fuel
  • to meet our long-standing commitment to reduce poverty through trade, the government currently offers preferential access to the UK market for developing countries. To ensure that access for developing countries is maintained, we would retain tariffs on a set of goods, including bananas, raw cane sugar, and certain kinds of fis

Trade Policy Minister George Hollingbery said: “Our priority is securing a deal with the European Union as this will avoid disruption to our global trading relationships. However, we must prepare for all eventualities.

“If we leave without a deal, we will set the majority of our import tariffs to zero, whilst maintaining tariffs for the most sensitive industries.

“This balanced approach will help to support British jobs and avoid potential price increases that would hit the poorest households the hardest.

“It represents a modest liberalisation of tariffs and we will be monitoring the economy closely, as well as consulting with businesses, to decide what our tariffs should be after this transitional period.”

The government has also confirmed that it will take a temporary approach to avoid new checks and controls on goods at the Northern Ireland land border if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK’s temporary import tariffs will therefore not apply to goods crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland.

These tariffs would apply equally to all other trading partners, except for those where we have a free trade agreement in place and around 70 developing countries that will benefit from preferential access to our market.

Retailers warn over ‘no deal’ Brexit food supply chain risks

Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and M&S are among UK retailers to have warned about the devastating impact a so-called ‘no deal’ Brexit will have on food security and supply in the UK.

In an open letter to MPs, send by the British Retail Consortium trade body, the CEOs of the country’s biggest food retailers called on the government to do everything it can to prevent the cliff-edge scenario from occurring.

The letter, which was also signed by eateries KFC, McDonald’s and Pret A Manger, said that food stocks will experience shortages and that sufficient storage at ports and in warehouses simply wasn’t available for stockpiling given the just in time methods employed on most food imports.

The letters reads: “Our supply chains are closely linked to Europe – nearly one third of the food we eat in the UK comes from the EU. In March the situation is more acute as UK produce is out of season: 90% of our lettuces, 80% of our tomatoes and 70% of our soft fruit is sourced from the EU at that time of year. As this produce is fresh and perishable, it needs to be moved quickly from farms to our stores.

“This complex, ‘just in time’ supply chain will be significantly disrupted in the event of no deal. Even if the UK government does not undertake checks on products at the border, there will still be major disruption at Calais as the French government has said it will enforce sanitary and customs checks on exports from the EU, which will lead to long delays; Government data suggest freight trade between Calais and Dover may reduce by 87% against current levels as a result. For consumers, this will reduce the availability and shelf life of many products in our stores.

“We are also extremely concerned about the impact of tariffs. Only around 10% of our food imports, a fraction of the products we sell, is currently subject to tariffs so if the UK were to revert to WTO Most Favoured Nation status, as currently envisaged in the no-deal scenario, it would greatly increase import costs, which could in turn put upward pressure on food prices. The UK could set import tariffs at zero but that would have a devastating impact on our own farmers, a key part of our supply chains.”

FTA urges hauliers to submit for international permits

UK hauliers have been urged to submit applications for international road haulage permits before the closing deadline (this Friday, 18th January) ahead of a possible ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has advised vehicle operators looking to transport into the EU-27 countries post-Brexit that they should prepare accordingly.

An ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) permit will be needed by commercial vehicle operators to transport goods into the European Union (EU) and EEA (European Economic Area) if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29th March 2019.

Sarah Laouadi, European Policy Manager at FTA, said: “A No Deal exit from the EU remains a distinct possibility and businesses must prepare for this eventuality. Applications for ECMT permits close this week and FTA advises businesses to submit their applications urgently, or risk being unable to travel in the event of a No Deal outcome.

“The number of ECMT permits available to British operators is painfully short of the required total; it is likely to cover only 5% of the current vehicle journeys made between the UK and EU. Without frictionless movement between the UK and the EU, the delicate supply chain our economy relies upon will be in jeopardy. With this in mind, FTA has prepared a list of emergency “mini-deals” and contingency measures, covering areas including truck permits, aviation and VAT, which we will demand the UK government prioritises with Brussels urgently to limit the disruption of a No Deal scenario.”

Laouadi continued: “The European Commission has already tabled a proposal whereby UK hauliers could carry out certain transport operations in the EU on the basis of mutual recognition of the Community Licence; however, this arrangement would not cover cabotage or transport between two EU countries and comes with many other restrictions and caveats. FTA will stand up for its members and seek to ensure the proposal is improved to meet the needs of the industry. In the meantime, operators should nevertheless apply for ECMT permits as there is no guarantee there will be a workable alternative in time for Brexit day.”

BIFA: £8m funding for customs training ‘very welcome’

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has welcomed the recent news of an £8 million government funding scheme for customs intermediaries and traders.

Grants have been made available for all customs intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations. The aim of the grants is to support training and the upgrade of IT systems.

According to BIFA, the government has actively engaged with freight forwarders, independent customs brokers, and fast parcel operators in order to understand the needs and challenges industry bodies face in supporting current and future clients.

This scheme is intended to help support the extra demand for customs brokerage services associated with the UK’s departure from the EU, as well as issues associated with the replacement of the current system used to process customs entries.

Robert Keen, director general of BIFA said: “During our meetings with both HM Treasury and HMRC, BIFA highlighted the concerns of our members regarding the capability of the Customs brokerage sector to increase capacity, at a time when that sector already faces a shortage of staff of suitable quality.

“We emphasised that it could take up to a year to train staff to be fully conversant to prepare a range of basic Customs declarations, even if there was a sufficient number of trainers to train those staff, as well as relevant courses for them to attend. So, the news of this funding is very welcome.”

The grant includes HMRC providing an investment of £3 million to fund increasing training capacity.

BIFA also notes that the grants include £2 million to fund training for intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations (or intending to complete customs declarations in the future). The grant will provide funding for up to 50% of the cost of training staff.

There is also £3 million available in IT improvement funding, available to small and medium sized employers in the customs intermediaries sector currently completing customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters. The grant will fund investment in packaged software that increases the automation and productivity of completing customs declarations.

BIFA is encouraging those who believe they might benefit to apply early. Applications will close on 5 April 2019, or earlier once all the funding is allocated.

More information and grant applications can be found at: GOV.UK

Davies Turner: Brexit-related warehousing requests ‘on the increase’

Davies Turner is seeing an upsurge in enquiries about the availability of warehousing space, driven by customer concerns about the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the future of UK trade with the EU after March next year.

The freight forwarder and logistics service provider said it has previously seen demand for warehousing capacity often reduce in the early months of the new year as many retailers require less stock following the festive season.

However, 2018 has already been a busy year so that spare capacity is very limited and this is likely to continue into 2019.

The company says that the increase in enquiries, many of which are originating from its partners in Europe, seems to be the result of firms deciding to stockpile more goods than usual in preparation for any supply chain disruption that may occur around the still to be negotiated transition period following the UK’s departure from the EU next year.

Davies Turner chairman Philip Stephenson said: “We suspect that the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit will only lead to more demand for short term storage in in the event of no deal or an unsatisfactory outcome with no mutual recognition or trading agreements in place. Depending on the final details of Britain’s trade deal with the rest of Europe, this may turn into a longer term requirement.

“Adding to these pressures will be more predictable factors like the Chinese New Year, which starts at the end of January next year and may also strengthen demand for UK warehousing in March.”

GUEST BLOG: Business after Brexit – Is our future with China?

By Amy Hodgetts, Oasys Software

With 29th March 2019 drawing closer, and without a clear understanding of what state the market will be in between Britain and the European Union after Brexit, the pressure is certainly rising.

Despite this worry, or perhaps because of it, less than one third of UK firms say they have a plan in place in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Though a no-deal Brexit would be a problematic event, it would also unshackle the UK and allow it to make trade deals across the world. It would not affect trade with countries outside the European Union, which is precisely what the UK seems to be planning for with its Prime Minister having recently visited China for talks.

But would China be open to the idea of a trade deal with the UK? After all, in 2016, the UK imported £42.3bn worth of goods from China, but exported only £16.8bn to China in return. But then again, that’s not entirely proof that China wouldn’t increase its British exports demand if a trade deal was in place — the country is already hoping to widen its trade with The Belt and Road Initiative.

This initiative would see China gain far stronger transport and trade routes throughout the world. The “belt” side of it roughly equates to the land connections it will build through railroads, and the “road” refers to a sea-route of trade. Essentially, China is building a new Silk Road, and 71 countries are already part of the project, including Russia and New Zealand.

A contrast of confidence has, however, been outlines by Business Insider UK. Where Prime Minster Theresa May has not pledged support to the project that she feels isn’t a guaranteed success, Chancellor Phillip Hammond expressed his support of it.

As the UK’s trade ties with China develop, however, these opinions may change. In fact, we have already enjoyed success in China before Brexit has even resolved. At the start of 2018, during talks between the UK and China, the 20-year ban on British beef was lifted. The deal is purported to be worth £9bn to the UK.

After an outbreak of “mad cow disease”, the EU placed a worldwide ban on the export of UK beef. It wasn’t until 2006 that the EU lifted the ban, but other countries chose to retain their ban on the product, including China.

What other British produce does China want? What markets and UK businesses could, potentially, fare well with Chinese consumers? According the Telegraph, top British exports the Chinese enjoy are:

  • British cars
  • Burberry, and other designer labels
  • Scotch whisky
  • Scottish salmon

Of course, China’s market is massive, and the competition is there, but that shouldn’t put off smaller companies from breaking into the market. The Creative Industries reported on the success of hairbrush and haircare brand Tangle Teezer over in China. Tangle Teezer’s International Managing Director, Gemma Clarke, confirmed in the article that China became its second biggest sales market in only 3 years trading there.

After a Chinese model shared her purchase of a Tangle Teezer to her social media followers, Tangle Teezer took off in the country. China loves its online shopping, so influencers should not be overlooked when planning to cater to the Chinese market.

Businesses can potentially do very well in China, with the right product and approach. At the very least, firms need to plan for the eventual shake-up to the UK’s ties with the European market once Brexit comes into play, and time is running out to start building the foundations. This small window of golden opportunity has been highlighted by Rebecca De Cicco in regards to the UK’s construction industry in particular.

The director of Digital Node outlined how 70% of buildings over 200 metres tall completed in 2017 were built in China, and so the country is increasingly interested in building information management software and crowd simulation. The use of British construction software has already proved its value to the Chinese construction sector in Beijing’s new airport, the Beijing Daxing International. Projected to see 45 million passengers a year, the airport’s construction has benefited from crowd simulation software provided by UK structure design software experts, Oasys. The software alerted the construction company and designers to any potential bottlenecks, congestion problems, or other inefficiencies.

The Business Magazine has offered a guide on how to approach your business dealings in China. As with any overseas market, the magazine advises companies to consider the culture of the country they are trading with; in this case, explore China’s culture. The general consensus is to be aware that what works in the UK may not work in China’s business ground, and as relationships can take a long time to build, jeopardising them with an ill-placed comment or miscommunication can slow that pace even further.

The business world is going to change for the UK very soon. Whether or not we retain trade deals with the EU, and to what to degree, the wider world is coming to the UK. Will it be a great opportunity for businesses, as some predict?

Sources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45047874

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45112872

https://metro.co.uk/2018/02/05/no-deal-brexit-7288751/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42821084

http://uk.businessinsider.com/what-is-belt-and-road-china-infrastructure-project-2018-1

http://uk.businessinsider.com/what-is-belt-and-road-china-infrastructure-project-2018-1/#it-consists-of-two-parts-the-belt-which-recreates-an-old-silk-road-land-route-and-the-road-which-is-not-actually-a-road-but-a-route-through-various-oceans-2

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4785610.stm

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8504445/Made-in-Britain-loved-in-China.html

http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/uk-creative-overview/news-and-views/news-uk-firms-successfully-target-the-new-chinese-consumer

http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/brexit-means-uk-business-china-europe-says-expert-2553464/

http://www.bimplus.co.uk/news/taking-our-bim-expertise-china/

https://www.oasys-software.com/case-studies/beijing-daxing-international/

‘1 in 10 businesses could fold’ as a result of Brexit customs delays

One in 10 UK businesses believe they would likely go bankrupt if goods were delayed by just 10–30 minutes at customs as a result of Brexit, according to new research from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).

The findings come from a survey of 1,310 UK and EU-based supply chain managers, the professionals responsible for navigating customs and negotiating with suppliers around the world.

Respondents reported that the longer the delay, the more likely their business would go bankrupt, with the proportion of companies that would go out of business increasing to 14% if delays to the customs process reached 1–3 hours, and 15% at 12–24 hours.

John Glen, Economist at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), said: “The UK economy could fall off a cliff on Brexit day if goods are delayed by just minutes at the border. Businesses have become used to operating efficiently with exceptionally lean, frictionless supply chains, where quick customs clearance is a given. Customs delays would not only affect businesses, but would also lead to a shortage of products on shelves and an increase in prices for consumers as well.”

The research also shows that UK businesses are taking steps to mitigate the risk of increased delays at the border. More than a quarter (28%) have said they will stockpile goods, with 4% already starting to do so while 23% are planning to stockpile in the future.

Other steps being taken by businesses to alleviate the potential impact of customs delays include building greater flexibility into contracts (21%) and looking for alternative suppliers outside the EU (21%). Half of UK companies (50%) said they would struggle to find the suppliers and skills they need in the UK if they were forced to re-shore parts of their supply chain post-Brexit.

Conversely, almost two fifths (38%) said they cannot prepare at all as future trade arrangements are still too unclear. As the UK and EU prepare to finalise a deal based on the Chequers plan at the EU Summit on 18th-19th October, almost one in ten (9%) UK supply chain managers said they would prefer a no-deal scenario.

“The Brexit deadline is drawing nearer and while most businesses are trying to prepare, they are limited on what they can do until a final Brexit deal has been agreed. Stockpiling goods is an option for some businesses, but many do not have the facilities available to store surplus stock, and those working with perishable goods simply won’t be able to. Companies are also struggling to onshore their supply chains to the UK due to a lack of suitable alternatives,” Glen added.

“To prevent an economic meltdown, the Government must ensure that goods continue to flow seamlessly across the border post-Brexit. Negotiators also need to agree a deal quickly to ensure they give businesses adequate time to prepare, with the majority of UK supply chain managers stating they need at least a year to prepare for Brexit, once the final deal has been agreed.“