How does Brexit affect breakfast?

Higher costs, longer waiting: Brexit is popular with the British

Three weeks after leaving the EU internal market, Brexit is becoming increasingly noticeable. Despite the last-minute agreement between the EU and its resigned ex-member, trading companies on both sides complain about a multitude of new obstacles and fees. Parcels of goods are stuck at customs for weeks, truckers have to make empty trips. The Scottish fishing industry is spoiling the fresh produce in the maze of new regulations, prominent musicians are storming against new visa requirements.

The skepticism of business associations after the announcement of the Christmas Eve agreement turns out to be farsighted. Many press releases contained a "sigh of relief", to which the long-time managing director of the German-British Chamber of Commerce, Ulrich Hoppe, added: "But it remains a sigh, because trading via the canal will be more difficult and expensive one way or another."

There is no doubt - what reaches the largely unsuspecting consumers is more expensive and takes longer than in the old year. At the BBC, 26-year-old Londoner Ellie Huddleston complained about additional fees for two packages from the EU. The final bill for a new coat was the equivalent of 315 euros instead of the expected 225 euros, an increase of 41 percent. For the second package, the price premium would have been around a third. Huddleston had both sent back: "I'm not going to buy anything from Europe anytime soon." Other customers pay and wait a long time for customs clearance.

Duties and Taxes

Because courier companies have to collect the additional duties and VAT on goods over £ 39 on behalf of the government, everything gets more expensive. The freight company TNT has recently been charging a fee of 4.31 pounds on all shipments from the EU to the United Kingdom and vice versa. The aim is to collect the millions in costs that were caused by Brexit. Royal Mail charges eight pounds, with DHL the minimum charge is as much as eleven pounds.

What does this mean for the lucrative online trade between island and continent? Individual companies such as the Dutch bicycle specialist Dutch Bike Bits or the Belgian beer supplier Beer on Web are already refusing to deliver to British customers.

Some freight forwarders are fed up too. DB Schenker suspended the delivery of goods to Great Britain because far too few customers on the continent can provide complete and correctly completed forms. On the island, ignorance is possibly even higher, some companies estimate the proportion of correctly prepared customers at ten percent. More and more truckers prefer to drive their vehicles empty back to the mainland than grapple with British customs. "Better to be empty than to stand still for three days," says one.

There is actually still a grace period for traders. In addition, many companies had replenished their inventories in the old year, and automobile companies such as Nissan shut down production or took a complete break. If the supply chains are to function normally again soon, there will likely be bottlenecks in the canal ports. The strict Corona regulations make life for truck drivers difficult anyway.

Among many other things, the pandemic has brought orchestral and band tours to a standstill. In anticipation of better times, musicians have denounced the much more difficult conditions for future visits to the continent. Celebrities such as Simon Rattle, Elton John, Sting and the Sex Pistols wrote in the newspaper that the government "let down in a shameful way" Times. In order to be able to play live, "expensive work permits and a mountain of forms for equipment" will be necessary in the future. In fact, British roadies, for example, will in future only be allowed to drive the valuable containers with instruments and amplifiers to three EU cities; then a tractor registered in the internal market must take over.

Finger pointing

London and Brussels hold each other responsible for the problems of the billion-dollar industry. This is actually "a difficult problem," says a British government spokeswoman, and new talks with the EU are being targeted.

Trade expert Jason Langrish was involved in drafting Ceta, the free trade agreement between Canada and the EU. At an event he predicted a negative effect of the new British status: "It goes slowly and takes time." Little by little, for example, the competitiveness of the City of London, which has hitherto been the most important financial center in the world, is being undermined.

Rumor has it in Brussels that trade, which is lucrative for both sides, can be facilitated, but that British guarantees are necessary for compliance with standards in labor and environmental law. Trade expert Langrish believes that it is precisely with these fair competitive conditions for companies that London will meet the continent: "And then the kingdom will again be part of the EU's orbit." (Sebastian Borger from London, January 23rd, 2021)