More than three quarters of British companies have reported that the trade agreement between the European Union and Britain under Brexit has made it difficult for them to increase sales and grow their business, a British Chambers of Commerce survey showed.
The survey of more than 1,168 businesses, which was published on Wednesday, showed significant challenges for UK firms trying to use the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) that was signed in 2020 to allow tariff-free trade with the European Union once Brexit took effect.
“Businesses feel they are banging their heads against a brick wall as nothing has been done to help them, almost two years after the TCA was first agreed,” said Shevaun Haviland, director general of BCC.
About 56% of firms face difficulties adapting to the new rules for trading goods, the survey found, while around 44% of businesses also reported challenges in getting visas for their staff.
About 92% of the businesses surveyed were small and medium enterprises.
“Brexit has been the biggest ever imposition of bureaucracy on business. Simple importing of parts to fix broken machines or raw materials from the EU have become a major time-consuming nightmare for small businesses,” a manufacturer in the East Midlands was quoted as saying in the BCC survey report.
In its proposals to increase UK-EU trade, the BCC, which carries out Britain’s biggest quarterly survey of businesses, has recommended the creation of a supplementary deal with the EU and for the UK to make side deals with the EU and member states to allow UK firms to travel for longer and work in Europe, among others.
Britain formally withdrew from the European Union on Jan. 31, 2020.