Warning of trade disruption for Derbyshire businesses after Brexit
Businesses in Derbyshire exported billions of pounds' worth of goods to the EU last year, new figures reveal.
But public spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) has warned of ‘widespread disruption’ to UK trade with the EU is likely when the country exits the single market at the end of December.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures have been released for East Derbyshire, South & West Derbyshire and Derby and they show 2,643 registered businesses exported goods to countries in the European Union in 2019.
This outward trade was valued at £6 billion.
The figures also show 3,616 businesses imported goods from the bloc at a value of £4.74 billion last year.
Across the UK, companies exported £168 billion worth of goods to the EU last year, while imports amounted to £267 billion.
A recent report by the NAO said there was ‘significant uncertainty’ about whether preparations will be complete in time for the UK's departure from the single market.
Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said: “The January 1 deadline is unlike any previous EU exit deadline – significant changes at the border will take place and government must be ready.
“Disruption is likely and government will need to respond quickly to minimise the impact, a situation made all the more challenging by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Talks between the UK and EU continue negotiators try to finalise a trade deal before the end of the year.
Across East Derbyshire, South & West Derbyshire and Derby, businesses exported goods to non-EU countries at a value of £2.08 billion in 2019, while imports from outside the bloc were valued at £7.39 billion.
A government spokesman said: “We are making significant preparations to prepare for the guaranteed changes at the end of the transition period – including investing £705 million to ensure the right border infrastructure, staffing and technology is in place, providing £84 million in grants to boost the customs intermediaries sector, and implementing border controls in stages so traders have sufficient time to prepare.
“With less than two months to go, it’s vital that businesses and citizens prepare too.”