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Most exporters ‘unaware and unprepared’ for new EU regulations

A new set of rules will soon come into play for many exporters to the EU, but research suggests the vast majority of manufacturers are completely unaware of the forthcoming changes.

With the help of Manufacturing Advisor Chris Manka, who has three decades’ of international trade experience, the Hub’s specialist Manufacturing Service re-focused much of its expert support over the past year to helping Greater Manchester SMEs find success by capitalising on growth opportunities overseas.

Read our Demystifying Exporting for Manufacturers guide

From October, firms exporting goods containing steel and certain other products will have new reporting requirements under the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, a new policy that imposes a charge on ‘high carbon’ imports into the EU.

The first phase of implementation covers a limited number of iron and steel products, fertilisers, cement and aluminium, but any company which then includes these materials in their goods – for example nuts and screws – will now have to declare them.

According to a survey commissioned by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), 84 per cent of exporting manufacturers do not know about these new requirements despite their imminent introduction.

William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, explained:

“It is a serious worry that more than four out of five manufacturers who export have no knowledge of the EU’s new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. It is just the start of a series of changes, that will gradually ratchet up over the next three years, to deter the use of cheaper but higher-carbon steel, and other goods with highly embedded climate damaging emissions, being imported into the EU.

“It is likely manufacturers that export will have to think about allocating dedicated staff resources just to deal with these reporting requirements. So, they need to start thinking about this now, and working out what their response will be, but there are very few trusted sources of information.

“The BCC and Chambers will be working hard to pull together as much guidance as we can to help businesses get to grips with this onslaught of changes.”

The BCC survey also found that 43 per cent of manufacturers are still unaware of the new UKCA mark, the UK’s post-EU alternative to the CE safety mark.

Despite these challenges, research shows exporting remains a huge opportunity for manufacturers, and those who sell overseas tend to be more successful, innovative and resilient as a result.  

GC Business Growth Hub was part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2021, as part of a portfolio of ERDF-funded programmes designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. Eligibility criteria was applied. The 2014-2021 ERDF  fund was allocated by the European Union that finances convergence, regional competitiveness and employment and territorial co-operation.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government was the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which was one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information, visit European Regional Development Fund: Documents and Guidance - GOV.UK (

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