Published: 10:19, 05 March 2021
| Updated: 10:24, 05 March 2021
Firms in the county can now access free specialist advice on how to do business with the EU following Brexit.
Kent County Council’s Trading Standards officers will provide no-cost regulatory guidance to businesses via a dedicated advice line.
It has been made possible courtesy of a grant from the Kent and Medway Growth Hub.
While exporters have had to follow new rules since January 1, with many still hitting hurdles, importers have had an extended grace period to prepare for the change. But that ends next month.
Head of KCC Trading Standards, Steve Rock, explained: “Working closely with local businesses, we know many SMEs are still struggling to get their goods and documentation ready to meet new export requirements.
“We have been working hard to help - but we are only 50% of the way there in terms of the complex changes that leaving the EU is bringing to the Kent business community, as now our importers need to prepare for the introduction of import checks.
“It is also very important that small businesses check their supply chain to ensure that their suppliers are ready to import from European Union countries so that they do not face similar delays.
“Not being able to bring goods into the UK because the right forms have not been completed, or having products held up at the border because of incorrect labelling, will all incur costs and could result in loss of trade."
Tudor Price, of the Kent and Medway Growth Hub, added: “Businesses are battling to get to grips with the post-transition landscape, so we want to remind local exporters and importers that you aren’t alone.
“We have used Brexit grant funding to ensure free specialist help is available to all businesses to navigate the new rules, including information on customs, VAT and trade terms. Advice is just a phone call away.”
Around 9,600 (8%) Kent businesses export to Europe, either directly or through supply chains. A total 24,500 (27%) Kent businesses are involved in importing – directly or via suppliers - from the single market.
The free advice line can be contacted at 03333 602300. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am until 6pm.