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Brexit confusion

Firms told to set up EU hubs to avoid border chaos

Goods have been caught up border delays

Firms exporting to the EU are being encouraged by trade officials to set up hubs across the Channel so they can avoid post-Brexit disruption, it has been reported.

Exporters have been hit by extra charges, taxes and paperwork, leading some to stop selling into the EU altogether.

But some say they have been told that setting up operations in Europe would help ease the flow of goods and services across EU borders.

The co-founder of the Cheshire Cheese Company, Simon Spurrell, said he had approached the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for advice over the need for a veterinary-approved health certificates for exports.

He claimed he was asked to pay £180 for the certificates to export gift boxes costing up to £30 each and was advised by the department to set up a packaging firm across the Channel.

‘They told me setting up a fulfilment centre in the EU where we could pack the boxes was my only solution,” he said.

He was now looking at setting up a business in France and had scrapped plans to build a £1million warehouse in the UK – which he said could have created up to 30 jobs. 

The Department for International Trade said it was “not government policy”.

“The Cabinet Office have issued clear guidance, available at, and we encourage all businesses to follow that guidance.”

The latest concerns follow warnings that High Street retailers and luxury brands may burn items returned by customers that are now stuck in European warehouses rather than bringing them back to the UK to avoid the cost and hassle of red tape. 

It emerged a year ago that more than 1,400 EU-based firms had applied for permission to operate in the UK after Brexit, with more 1,000 of these planning to establish their first UK office.

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