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Free Brexit advice for Kent businesses

County Council´s Trading Standards Officers are offering free advice to Kent firms that struggle due to the new Brexit border requirements.

Before leaving the EU, government introduced trade rules that allowed businesses to adjust to Brexit, at the same time they dealt with the pandemic.

The new rules were applied on January 1st and British exporters have been following them, while importers had a grace period that gave businesses time to prepare for change.

However, the adaptation period ends next month, with additional checks on plant and animal origin products. Moreover, the rules for all imports will change on the 1st of July, with the introduction of physical checks, that may result in the inspection of goods at the border.

To help Kent businesses that may be struggling, Kent and Medway Growth Hub grant have made free guidance possible through an advice line on 03333 602

300 and a one-stop-shop open Monday to Friday (9am-6pm).

They offer support to deal with the Brexit requirements, which is specially helpful to small businesses that may not have the knowledge required.

Head of KCC Trading Standards Steve Rock said:

“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.”

If there is any mistake in the labelling of products or the completion of forms, Kent firms may suffer from damaging  consequences such as not being able to import products into the UK or products being held at the border, which will result in economic loss.

Steve Rock encourages Kent businesses with the following message: “Call our Business Advice Team – it’s free, will help you make the necessary checks and changes needed and could ultimately save you lots of money”.

Statistics show around 8% of Kent businesses export to Europe directly or through supply chains, and 27% import directly or via suppliers from the single market.

Tudor Price, of the Kent and Medway Growth Hub, said:

“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.”