The bureaucracy of Brexit, the nightmare of SMEs and e-commerce in Girona

Following the in extremis agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom for Brexit in late December, the business world is breathing a sigh of relief. The foundations have been laid for an agreed-upon divorce that has brought many headaches on both sides of the English Channel. But, as Theresa May said at the beginning of this long and tortuous journey; “Brexit means Brexit”, and this has led to changes in the establishment of trade relations with a country outside the EU.

In Girona, the first to see this change are the companies that export there. The Girona business community sells products in the British Isles worth 230.4 million euros. It has long been assumed that the rules of the game have changed. Many have prepared for the new stage, but even so the bureaucratic hurdles have become a stepping stone for many firms. Especially those who sell their products directly to British consumers.

The Girona Chamber of Commerce has detected that those companies that are engaged in e-commerce (e-commerce) and make direct sales are encountering “many problems”, for example, when processing VAT. British. Tradeinn is one of the companies in Girona that exports to the United Kingdom. Despite its formidable growth in the last year, this sales firm dedicated to the sale of sports equipment on the Internet is finding it very difficult to place its products. Its CEO and founder, David Martín, lists a huge saturation of customs and tax complications: “The situation is very, very difficult, taxation has changed.”

Advice

The Chamber, which has an advisory service for companies wishing to export, explains that each company has its particular complications, depending on the regulations. In general, large companies have done their homework and have a greater ability to react.

“Those who have a significant sale have already done so. But until they start and are there “, they underline from the institution, adding that it is the small and medium-sized companies that are suffering the most to export to the United Kingdom. “Small businesses are complicated by the bureaucratic issue. From a certain amount you have to register there to pay VAT, for example. There are companies that do not get there.

The Chamber also acknowledges that exports from one company to another “are slowing down a lot, and new processes need to be adapted”. But he believes this will not be to the detriment of sales. “They will not be reduced, but there will be a period of adaptation. We have not found any company that has decided not to sell in the United Kingdom, ”they say.

In this line is Roberlo, a Riudellots firm specializing in chemicals for car repairs. They say that the first weeks have not been particularly complicated because “we have the ability to be flexible enough to adapt.”

Roberlo has a subsidiary in the United Kingdom “which gives us proximity to the customer and management capacity.” In addition, it is part of Briol, a conglomerate where there is also the 100% British firm Chemfix “which has helped us to be prepared”. They acknowledge, however, that Brexit will add bureaucracy and “not accelerate trade change.” But they also remember that their international experience, with dozens of subsidiaries around the world, has accustomed them to change.

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