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DW: Brexit frustration – five years after the Brexit referendum


June 23,2021

Trade with Great Britain has been severely disrupted since the Brexit agreement came into force. Fish traders and clothing sellers are struggling to cope with new customs and health regulations. Companies often bear the burden of the extra costs.

Nerys Edwards is a shellfish wholesaler from Wales. Her family has been in the business for generations, but since the start of the year, trading has become more complicated than ever before. Her company buys shellfish such as shrimps and lobster from local fishermen and exports them to the EU, chiefly to Spain. Requirements for new health certificates have delayed deliveries to the extent that some sea creatures, which are transported live, have perished en route. Each truckload is worth 50,000 pounds (about 58,400 euros). The financial losses for her family and the fishermen are considerable. Tensions are running high and Nerys Edwards worries about every shipment.

There are problems in continental Europe, too. German-British truck driver Colin Francis has been struggling with his schedule since Brexit. He transports goods through the Eurotunnel, in both directions, for a German logistics company. Like many other drivers, he has been held up for long periods at the new customs checkpoints in the UK. When Colin Francis sets off in the morning, he hopes to make it home to his family in the evening, instead of having to sleep in his truck. Now, he can’t be sure where he will spend the night. The logistics firm and their customers now often need to plan three times as long for trips that used to take a day.

Brexit has also forced entrepreneurs like Edzard van der Wyck from London to rethink their business strategy. His company produces clothing from New Zealand wool. Since January, it’s become more expensive to export to the EU than to the United States. Like many other British exporters, he now wants to set up a new distribution center and move parts of his business to continental Europe

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