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We recently sent out a survey to our members and customers to further clarify and establish what issues Essex businesses have been experiencing in the 6 months since we left the EU.  

The main findings of the survey reveal and demonstrate how supply chains are interconnected and that the affect has been global and not just refined to EU business.  The majority of respondents trade with the EU and just over half export to Northern Ireland with 80% trading with the Rest of the World (ROW).  Customs clearance, documentation, vat and duty were the main issues experienced together with a loss of business. See the full results below

Do you Export and/or Import to the EU? 

A majority of 92% revealed that they have trade relations with the EU.

  • 59% of respondents shared that they both Import and Export to the EU. 
  • While only 8% shared that they did not Import nor Export with the EU.

Northern Ireland Export/Import

When asked if firms have trade relations with Northern Ireland, a total of 56.75% shared that they either Exported or Imported.

On the other hand, 43.25% responses showed that there was no business relation with Northern Ireland for exporting and importing.

No to trading with Rest of World 
16.21% of members shared that they do not trade with the Rest of the World.
Note: This could change with future trade deals (WTO)
Yes to Exporting to Rest of World 
Nearly half (45.94%) of the respondents expressed that they only export goods to the Rest of the World.
Yes to Export and Import to Rest of World
While 35.14% responded to both exporting and importing goods from the Rest of the World.
Yes to Importing with Rest of World
Only 2.71% shared that they import materials/goods from the Rest of the World.

This table reveals the difference between trade in the EU compared to the Rest of the World.
  • A strong relation remains for trade in the EU. Although 82% of responses show trade activity with the Rest of the World.  

Difference between trade in Northern Ireland and ROW

Responses show that more businesses export and import with the Rest of the World than with Northern Ireland.

What Issues have been experienced Exporting and Importing 

The diagram reveals that 6 months after Brexit, custom clearance and documentation are the main concerns and issues from a majority of businesses in all industries.  

Preparation and processing documents, increased cost, differences in country requirements are a few of the many issues that has caused complexities to business/trade relations with the UK and EU. 


Have things improved or have you lost clients/business due to Brexit

The results revealed that 41% lost EU clients due to the impact of Brexit.

A further 9% indicated that they lost trade relations with the Rest of the World i.e., Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Israel to name a few.

Therefore, a total of 61% lost clients/business due to the effects of Brexit.

However, 14% of the responses showed that 6 months after Brexit, trade and business performance has remained consistent or improved. 

Do you use an Agent or Forwarder or make your own Custom Declarations

A total of 44 respondents stated that they use an Agent or Forwarder for either imports or exports.

Note: businesses still expressed complexities with trade.

While 12 responses showed that they make their own custom declaration for imports and exports. 


Analysis by Darlington Kwesi-Osei