'I was an idiot': Exporter who 'bought' Brexit slams 'staggering and obscene' costs

9 February 2022, 11:53

By Tim Dodd

This exporter tells James O'Brien that "filling in commodity codes" and "getting test certificates" for his products because of Brexit has caused "staggering and obscene" costs and delays for his business.

It comes as a fresh report has found that Brexit has forced businesses to endure higher costs, more paperwork and border delays.

While it was difficult to determine how much trade had taken a hit since the end of the Brexit transition on the last day of 2020, it was "clear that EU exit has had an impact", a paper by the Public Accounts Committee said.

Michael in Wokingham told James he'd spent most of his week "filling in commodity codes, getting test certificates for products that used to flow from my desk, through the warehouse, out on a daily basis".

"I was one of the idiots that bought the line 'it won't affect trade, it'll make it easier for us to make our own plans etc'," he said.

James said: "It doesn't make you an idiot, let's be clear about that. You're perfectly entitled to call yourself an idiot, but I wouldn't want anyone else listening to think that I would call them an idiot."

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Michael replied: "They are simply lying, because it is nothing other than an unmitigated disaster for us to try and ship products. And the amount of time, effort, and money it's taking for us to do that is quite frankly staggering and obscene.

"The issue that we've got now [is] we've got what we've got, and I don't know how they can improve it, because it's all well and good me selling products to... Malta. Now, I've got exactly the same problem whether I'm selling to one of my customers in Belfast, whereas before I could sell to Belfast as quick as I could sell to Birmingham.

"It's simply a pain."

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