Written by: Keith Tully
Around 40 per cent of all exporters from the UK have reported experiencing a downturn in their sales since the beginning of this year.
With the UK having exited the transition phase of its departure from the European Union on January 1st 2021, businesses selling goods and services overseas have since found it challenging or impossible in many cases to maintain their prior levels of sales.
The latest figures on the subject have been compiled by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which polled close to 3,000 exporting companies and found that only one in five was able to boost their sales in the first quarter of 2021.
Around 40 per cent of the businesses polled said they’ve seen no change to their sales numbers since the start of the year but some have experienced something close to a collapse in their revenues from exports since the beginning of January.
“European customers, whether individuals or businesses, are reluctant to buy from the UK,” Alfred Van Pelt from the clothing and accessories wholesaler Something Different told the BCC recently.
“Not only did this cause an immediate drop in turnover and the need for redundancies, but also killed a massive growth opportunity of our business,” he added.
The BCC has called for the UK government to do more to support exporters who have been finding it difficult to do business in recent months.
Recent performance data relating to exports from UK companies across a range of sectors represent some of the worst such figures ever recorded by the BCC, with the organisation describing those numbers and the apparent lack of positive indicators as “stark” and “concerning”.
“The message is loud and clear that the difficulties exporters are facing are not just ‘teething problems’,” said Hannah Essex, co-executive director at the BCC, in a statement.
“They are structural issues that, if they continue to go unaddressed, could lead to long-term, potentially irreversible weakness in the UK export sector,” she added.
“We are calling on both the UK and EU to get back around the table and produce solutions that reduce trade barriers and give exporters a fighting chance.”
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