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Brexit Weekly Digest - 19 March

This week we share the official figures for UK imports and exports in January, discuss ‘Green Brexit’, and announce the government’s SME Brexit Support Fund. Plus, latest information about upcoming webinars that could help your business grow through the EU Transition.

Huge decline in UK imports and exports in the first month after leaving the EU

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have published the official figures for UK imports and exports in January. Overall, UK imports fell by 28.8%, and exports by 40.7% - the biggest drop since records began.

One of the most affected countries is Germany, where imports from the UK have fallen by over 56%. German exports to the UK have also dropped by 29%. Economist James Smith told The Guardian that the impact from Brexit disruption could just be “teething issues” and February statistics could show a “rebound”.

 

Green Brexit didn't happen, says environmental coalition

Environmental coalition, Greener UK, has concluded that the “once in a lifetime opportunity to reform agriculture and fisheries”, first proposed in 2017, has not transpired.

The coalition, comprising 12 major environmental organisations and 8 million public members, have said that many of the UK’s environment protection schemes are weaker, with “fewer staff, less funding and restricted access to existing data.”.

Current Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC News the government are working hard to set world-leading legislation, delivering better environmental outcomes in an effective and efficient way.

 

£20 million SME Brexit Support Fund opens for applications

SMEs trading between Great Britain and the EU can now apply for grants of up to £2,000, providing access to practical support, including training for new customs, rules of origin and VAT processes.

To apply, your business must have been established in the UK for at least 12 months, have no more than 500 employees and have an annual turnover of less than £100m. Applications close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all £20m funding is allocated.

 

Webinars for importers of food and drink products from the EU to Great Britain

Register to join the Department for Environmental Food & Rural Affairs’ (Defra) food and drink webinar on 29 March at 2pm. The webinar will include:

  • Actions you must take to continue importing Products of Animal Origin (POAO) from the EU into GB from 1 April 2021
  • Guidance on how to meet the new requirements
  • Useful links to essential information
  • The opportunity to have your questions answered by Defra officials

Register here.

Defra are hosting a separate POAO webinar focusing on fish and fish products, 22 March at 2pm. Register here.

 

Rules of origin for goods moving between the UK and EU

Government guidance on ‘Rules of origin for goods moving between the UK and EU’ has now been updated to reflect the final date that traders can use the deferred declaration scheme.

The date has changed from 30 June 2021 to 31 December 2021. After this, supplementary declarations can be submitted up to 175 days after the goods have been imported.

 

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