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Post-Brexit disruptions in EU-UK trade

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Saeed Pourreza
Press TV, London

On the surface, traffic seems to be moving relatively freely at UK borders, but behind the scenes there are disruptions. In some cases, the increased red tape has led to food either not leaving the places in the UK where it’s produced, or rotting at border posts for several days.

As of today February 1 the French say they’re enforcing customs and single market rules more strictly. That could mean more disruption in the flow of goods from the UK.

The disruptions don’t only impact UK exports. On the shop floor in Northern Ireland, empty shelves in some supermarkets: trucks arriving at British ports with incorrect or absent documentation, delaying their passage across the Irish Sea.

Brexit also seems to have turned the promise of solidarity and cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 into mere platitudes. Last week, the EU said it was introducing export controls on its vaccines entering Northern Ireland. It’s since reversed that decision but after condemnation and threats of similar action from the UK.

Another victim of post Brexit reality: online shoppers. Despite claims by Prime Minister Boris Johnson of tariff-free trade, customers in the UK have found themselves facing extra charges when buying online from EU sellers; in some cases a 20% jump in purchase prices in the form of VAT.

And all that is only the tip of the iceberg. The trappings of Brexit were never going to be straightforward. After all, negotiations over the deal nearly collapsed several times. We’ve not seen the predicted chaos yet, but as of today, things may start to look very different.

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