Businesses need answers on Brexit — and fast.
The British Chambers of Commerce released a list of 24 questions on Tuesday that companies are asking about Brexit. With just nine months to go before the divorce, it said the UK government has answered only two.
“We are little closer to the answers businesses need than we were the day after the referendum,” Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said in a statement. “Business patience is reaching breaking point.”
The business lobby group said that companies don’t know whether they’ll face new regulations, tariffs or customs checks. It’s also unclear if they’ll be able to move staff between the European Union and the United Kingdom, or be forced to pay new taxes.
The questions range from the fundamental to the practical: “Will my business have to pay mobile roaming charges in the European Union after Brexit,” reads one query.
These “are the practical, real-world concerns of businesses of every size and sector, in every part of the United Kingdom,” said Marshall.
More than two years have passed since Brits voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has not been able to settle key issues within its own ranks, let alone with its EU partners.
The two biggest sticking points are how to avoid customs checks for goods moving between Britain and the European Union, and how to handle the border between Northern Ireland (part of Britain) and Ireland (part of the European Union).
May will try to make progress on these issues — and iron out deep divisions within her party — at a meeting of top government officials on Friday.
The European Union is also pushing May to speed up the process. At a summit held last week, EU leaders called for “realistic and workable” proposals from the United Kingdom.
Brexit confusion is taking its toll as the clock ticks down to March 2019.
Nearly half of EU business executives have already reduced investment in the United Kingdom following the Brexit referendum in June 2016, according to a survey published last week by law firm Baker McKenzie.
Airbus ( has warned that it could be forced to quit the country if there’s no deal on EU trading arrangements. Earlier in June, the head of Britain’s top business lobby group said the )country’s car industry could be wiped out.
Here are more of the key questions businesses need answering now:
- Will my company still have access to markets on the same terms as now once we left the European Union?
- Will my business be able to move skilled staff members between the United Kingdom and European Union in future?
- Will I be able to continue trading without tariffs with the European Union in the future?
- Will my goods be subject to new customs rules, procedures and inspections at the UK or EU border in future? Could my shipments be held up and delayed?