Brexit update: Is withdrawal creating more problems than it has solved?

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Where Boris Johnson had hoped for progress, he is instead getting further delays.

Despite the British government hoping for more progress on trade now that the worst of the pandemic's restrictions are lifting, Brexit seems to be facing a new set of roadblocks that have left some analysts highly critical of its progress.

A new poll carried out in the UK by Best of Britain showed 53 per cent of the country's population think the Withdrawal Agreement has "created more problems than it [has] solved", while half are aware of negative consequences for businesses.

Supply chains face more challenges

This comes after some industries began to see their supply chains crippled, with supermarkets in particular warning of shortages in the coming weeks.

So serious has the issue become that the cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission is calling for business grants to counter the disruption, digital checks for food exporters, and improved visa application processes to shore up gaps.

Elsewhere, The Loadstar has reported hearing of "widespread abuse" of the delayed declaration scheme set up to smooth out the transitions associated with Brexit, something that could be costing HMRC hundreds of millions of pounds.

Traders were informed they had an extension of up to 175 days to declare goods imported between January 1st and July 1st 2021, but a source is alleged to have told the news provider that "no one is bringing these delayed declarations to account".

This could be putting UK-based exporters at a disadvantage compared to their competitors in the EU and risks importers "sleepwalking into disaster" as paperwork slips through the cracks, they claimed.

Efforts to reach out to US remain frustrated

As if all this apparent chaos at the borders were not bad enough, the US then went on to effectively shoot down British prime minister Boris Johnson's hopes of a speedy trade deal between the two nations amid critical talks in Washington.

A hint came from House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi a few days prior that all was not well, with the democrat telling a think tank she thought an agreement could be at risk if Brexit threatens the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Then, at this month's official meeting between Mr Johnson and current US president Joe Biden, the latter said he would only be discussing the issue "a little bit" and would still have to "work that through".

Although Downing Street said a direct deal with the US is still a priority, Mr Johnson conceded: "The Americans do negotiate very hard."

With Mr Biden considerably frostier than his predecessor Donald Trump towards Britain's reaching out for trade in the near future, some experts are suggesting it would now be lucky if a deal was done before 2024.

The BBC even says it understands that if this stalling of progress did prove to be the case, Britain may consider joining the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) deal instead of pursuing a pact directly with the US, something Mr Johnson never had on his agenda before.

Nevertheless, the British government continues to take a bullish stance despite Brexit's list of woes this month, with a spokesperson insisting: "Last year, we secured one of the biggest and broadest trade deals in the world ... and the only zero tariffs Free Trade Agreement the EU has ever agreed. We have already begun to take full advantage of these opportunities."