UK firms still unclear about Brexit rules with less than a month to go

UK businesses still have unanswered questions about Brexit less than a month before the transition period ends, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said.

The organisation said businesses still did not know which rules of origin would apply to them, and these are needed to establish how products have to be produced to qualify for preferential tariff rates under various trade agreements.

The BCC said this was preventing businesses and their customers from planning and was potentially creating additional costs, and could be influencing location and supply chain decisions.

There is also only very limited guidance on the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, and no information on how UK tariff rate quotas will be administered or how businesses can access them beyond the transition period, the BCC said.

Its Brexit guidance dashboard, which is used to evaluate the quality of official government guidance, still has 24 of 35 key questions flashing red or amber.

Five of the questions frequently asked by businesses are given a red rating, which indicates “wholly inadequate information on which to plan”. Nineteen are marked amber, indicating that some information is available but gaps remain.

To help businesses adjust to the new procedures and systems that will come into force from 1 January, the BCC is urging the government to grant a temporary waiver of the £300 fine for hauliers who are not “border ready” when they arrive at Channel portsas a result of genuine errors in their documentation.

The BCC’s director general, Adam Marshall, said: “With just weeks to go, businesses need answers, and they need them now. Posters and television adverts are no substitute for the clear, detailed and actionable information businesses require to prepare for the end of transition. None of the issues businesses are grappling with are new, they have all been raised repeatedly over the past four years.”

Marshall welcomed the fact that the UK and EU were still negotiating, and said the overwhelming majority of businesses wanted the two sides to reach an agreement.

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