UK Manufacturers Urge Government to Enhance EU Cooperation for Smoother Trade

by Anna

In a recent trade bulletin, UK manufacturers have called on the government to strengthen cooperation with the European Union (EU) to streamline exports and improve the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU. Despite three years passing since the post-Brexit trading arrangements were implemented, 90% of UK companies still find trading with the EU challenging.


Customs paperwork and border delays are major obstacles for 64% of companies, while logistics pose issues for over half (52%) of exporters. Demonstrating Rules of Origin remains difficult for 36% of businesses, hindering their ability to ensure goods meet tariff-free entry rules to the EU.


Despite the challenges, nearly three-quarters of companies (74%) continue to export to the EU, with the manufacturing sector exporting £230 billion worth of goods to the EU in the past year, marking a 26% increase from 2021.

While the EU remains the UK’s largest export market, the US is a critical market for nearly half (48%) of manufacturers. Small and medium-sized businesses appear to be leveraging their expertise in navigating complex customs rules for EU trade to expand into wider global markets.

However, challenges persist, especially regarding the shortage of skilled labor in the manufacturing sector. Accessing skilled EU workers has become more difficult for 44% of companies in the last three years, exacerbating the industry’s labor shortage.

Manufacturers are urging cooperation with the EU on business mobility, particularly around short-term working visas and the recognition of professional and technical qualifications in both the UK and the EU. The call for collaboration extends to improving export procedures, customs administration, and goods clearance.

Key demands include the indefinite extension of CE marking recognition for all UK-manufactured goods, the separation of Customs from the rest of HMRC to provide customs agents direct access to a dedicated team, and mutual recognition of UK and EU rulings related to tariffs, origin, and valuation.

The manufacturing sector sees the need for a simplified Trusted Trader scheme applicable across all EU member states, emphasizing the importance of mutual cooperation for smoother and more efficient trade.


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