Companies need a minimum three-month transition period for new regulation, even if a Brexit deal is agreed, say Europe’s small businesses.
SMEunited, the organisation which represents small businesses at an EU level, say businesses need a phased introduction to trading with Britain post-EU.
In order to allow SMEs necessary preparation time for new customs rules, transport requirements, phytosanitary tests and more, a phased three-month transition is required, says SMEunited. Otherwise, the new conditions will have serious repercussions for SMEs on both sides of the Channel.
SMEunited warned many SMEs are struggling to adapt to the changing status of the EU-UK relationship. SMEunited has been encouraging its members to inform SMEs of the changes to EU-UK trade conditions, such as new customs rules and transport requirements.
Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses said: “Some border checks and payment rules are already delayed to July, however small firms will need time to get to grips with the new requirements. We have asked the government to include in the deal a phased introduction of new trade arrangements for the most complex areas, like rules of origin.”
Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, added: “Business leaders want to start this new chapter on the front foot, not frantically finding their bearings in the middle of a pandemic. To fully grasp any post-Brexit benefits, directors need to be able to minimise and manage the imminent risks. This is why the IoD has long championed the need for a true implementation period. Allowing time between changes being agreed and brought into force gives directors a better chance to plan.”
However, nearly half of UK microbusinesses employing surveyed this week said that Brexit will not have any effect on them at all.
And nearly half of British SMEs have already reviewed new regulations set to take force on January 1 2021 and made changes to ensure their companies will meet them, according to a report from SME app Amaiz.
That said, six out of 10 small businesses overall believe that Brexit will have some negative impact on their business, and 7 per cent believe it will destroy their business entirely.
But nearly two thirds of the 500 small businesses surveyed see Covid-19 pandemic as far more of a concern that Brexit.