Brexit 8 Weeks In – Where are we now?

2nd March 2021

It has now been over 8 weeks since the UK left the European Union and Single Market.

For many businesses working in the international arena, there has been difficulties adapting to the changes brought about by Brexit. We have seen delays at ports, unclarity on rulings and many questions around documentation, customs procedures, declarations to name a few. 

Sheffield International Trade Centre (SITC) has been on the front line to support businesses with these difficulties. And will remain so in the coming months ahead.

Nick Patrick, Head of International Trade at SITC, discusses what the current situation is now, and what future hurdles the UK still needs to navigate, which businesses need to be prepared for:

“Without doubt, things are settling down. Importers and exporters are becoming familiar with the information they need to provide to their customs agents, logistics partners and customers. This is providing a much less stress and a much quicker process. And as the days go by, the delays we have seen at ports are easing slowly.

“Trade between the EU and UK will pick up again soon and partners involved in the movement of goods will continue to become more organised.

Unfortunately, there are a couple more significant hurdles still to come. On the 1st of April Phase 2 of the UK Border Operating Model will kick in. This means that any products of animal origin (POAO) or sanitary and phytosanitary products will be controlled. This will mainly affect any business in food and drink, plant products, wood products, dairy and animal related industries.

“Then from 1st July, the easement implements in movement of goods in the first 6 months will be removed, as Phase 3 kicks in. This will create confusion. However, we expect that by that stage most importers and exporters will be knowledgeable enough to know what they must do and have the necessary customs authorisations in place before that date.

“Looking at the wider picture, moneycorp together with the BCC have published a very interesting report following a nationwide survey. The survey asked businesses what their global trade would look like over the next 12 months and one of the many interesting points I found, was the following statement relating to Non-EU trade:

‘For all exporters in the survey - those that currently export to the EU and/or rest of the world - 25% said they had concrete plans for growth for non-EU export markets, 27% had intentions to grow, 17% would consolidate rather than grow, 19% had no active plans to be involved in non-EU export markets, and 4% would decrease presence’

“For companies looking to expand their trade globally and utilise (SP) the UK’s new ability to make free trade agreements around the world, must get in touch with their local Chambers of Commerce.  We are part of a very powerful Global Business Network (GBN) and have ‘people on the ground’ in over 60 high growth markets, including the EU. The GBN specifically targets and helps UK SME businesses to develop their global portfolio and introduce your business to customers, agents and distributers or simply conduct detailed product market survey on behalf of your business.”

For more information or to speak to a member of the SITC team, call 0114 201 8888 or email

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