Brexit dampening north German-British business links

Some firms in north Germany halt business with Britain, IHK Nord survey finds
12 August 2021
Smartport Hamburg

Brexit continues to hamper traditionally close business ties between north Germany and Britain, according to a survey by the North German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK Nord). More than a third (37 per cent) of respondents have reduced or temporarily suspended business with Britain. Only one in 20 companies expects trade relations to develop "rather favorably" in the next 12 months.

Customs formalities and higher freight rates weaken trade relations

Business in north Germany has experienced "massive cuts" in bilateral trade since early 2021, according to Norbert Aust, Chairman of IHK Nord. New customs formalities and higher freight rates are the biggest impediments to trade. Rising raw material prices, increasing regulatory differences in product standards and legal uncertainty about concluding contracts and enforcing claims are dampening business with Britain.

North German demands 

"A joint effort between politics and administration is needed to put business with Britain back on a reliable footing," said Aust. The north German business community has called for streamlined customs procedures and controls and for the content of the Brexit agreement to be expanded to simplify trade, he added. Only a few companies in the north have actively taken advantage of the trade and co-operation agreement between the EU and Britain so far, he pointed out.

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