From July 1, customers will have to pay import charges on all goods entering Germany from countries outside of the continental trading bloc, following a plan from Brussels aimed at coming down hard on VAT fraud. But the move from Germany has further intensified post-Brexit tensions between the UK and EU and deepened widening cracks in the trading relationship between the two sides. One UK-based SME selling music records has compared Brexit to “death by 1,000 cuts” because of the surging number of barriers they are coming up against, and warned their trade with the European Union is already plummeting.
The record seller told freight and logistics industry news website The Loadstar: “It leaves me in a Brexit limbo right now, where I am continuing to sell stuff direct, but only low-value, under €22.
“And it is now beginning to affect our sales, with the percentage of trade with the EU dropping from 25 percent to 17 percent.”
The aggressive move from Germany has sparked a furious reaction from Britons, who have demanded a boycott on the purchase of all goods being manufactured in the leading EU member state.
Reacting to the initial story from Express.co.uk, one reader raged: “There is nothing unique about the products we buy from Germany.
“The simple answer is stop buying their stuff if they stop buying ours. It’s their loss in the end.”
A second person predicted: “Germany will lose out as Brits will stop buying anything made in Germany.”
Another reader fumed: “Boycott all German goods.”
One Brexiteer warned the EU inflicting more damage on their millions of citizens and own trade through “bad international publicity”.
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“The EU have proven not to be friends to the UK and we should start by treating 4m+ EU visitors in the UK in the same way they are treating expats in Spain, Italy etc.”
James Sibley, head of international affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, is hopeful the £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund could help avoid some of the financial and trading issues.
The SME Brexit Support Fund provides firms with £2,000 to help with training or professional advice if the business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100million annual turnover.
He told The Loadstar: “What we really need to see is policymakers on both sides of the Channel doing their utmost to minimise additional tariff and non-tariff barriers for the smallest firms as we try to get the global economy back on track.
“Fundamentally though, firms are struggling with the new requirements that have arisen because of the EU-UK trade deal and ending the VAT exemption will hit a lot of firms hard.”
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed in March 2019, imports from the remaining 27 EU member states totalled £25.2billion, compared with £17.8billion for the rest of the world.
But this year, EU imports have plummeted by nearly 30 percent to £18.9billion, while non-EU imports increased slightly by 2.1 percent to £19.3billion.
This first time the latter has outstripped the former since records began.
In a further blow for Brussels following Brexit, the figures, shared by Facts4EU, also reveals a huge year-on-year drop in the value of imports from the EU27.
During the first three months of 2019, more than half (55.9 percent) of all good imported into the UK came from the bloc’s 27 remaining member states.
But that has started to dip since then, to 52.9 percent in the same period last year and to 48.7 percent during the three month period in 2021.