Business leaders call for ‘honest dialogue’ on improving trade with Europe | Popgen Tech

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The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has warned that a significant number of businesses are still struggling with the UK-EU trade deal.

The business organization is calling on the government to look again at how to improve trade with Europe, two years on from the deal agreed by Boris Johnson.

The UK Brexit deal came after years of often fraught negotiations between London and Brussels, with the economic impact of the UK’s exit still a divisive issue.

Last month, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said Brexit had caused a “significant adverse impact” on trade volumes and business relationships between UK and EU firms.

Shevaun Haviland, director-general of the BCC, called for an “honest dialogue” on improving the UK-EU trade relationship.

“Businesses feel they are banging their heads against a brick wall as nothing has been done to help them, almost two years after the TCA was first agreed. “The longer the current problems go unchecked, the more EU traders go elsewhere, and the more damage is done,” she said.

Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce Shevaun Haviland

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (Yui Mok/PA)

The body is calling for a complementary agreement with the EU that could eliminate or reduce the complexity of food exports for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as an agreement in Norway that would exempt smaller businesses from the requirement to have a fiscal representative have for VAT in the EU.

A number of proposals also call for side deals with the EU and member states to allow British firms to travel longer and work in Europe.

The BCC, echoing the concerns of other business groups, urged the government to find a deal with the ongoing row over post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Ms Haviland said: “Business wants political leaders on both sides to move on from the debates of the past and find ways to trade more freely.

“This means an honest dialogue about how we can improve our trade relationship with the EU. With a recession looming, we need to remove the shackles holding our exporters back so they can play their part in the UK’s economic recovery.

“If we don’t do this now, the long-term competitiveness of the UK could be seriously damaged.

“It is no coincidence that during the first 15 months of the TCA we stopped selling 42% of all the different products we used.

“There are clearly some structural problems built into the TCA that cannot be addressed until it is reviewed in 2026.”

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