Belgium urges companies to stop exporting to UK
They say any firms who can should implement a ‘Brexit pause’ and try to get their material into the country before Brexit date.
Kristian Vanderwaeren, chief executive of Belgian Customs, has stated that many small and medium Belgian enterprises (SMEs) are not prepared to export after 29 March.
“Who are we as customs to give the business world instructions? But we are still asking the SMEs and all other parties to wait.
“Do the necessary export to your customers before 29 March,” he said.
“Our customs authority has written letters to some 20,000 companies that trade with the UK telling them they have to apply for an EORI number, which is necessary to be able to import and export.
“But today, three weeks before the Brexit, customs received only 4,700 positive answers.
Customs has even set up a call centre that answers questions and calls companies to get them to register for customs licences.”
Zeebrugge, Belgium’s main port, is expected to handle a million extra import declarations and 4.5 million extra export declarations if there’s a no-deal.
Mr Vanderwaeren said big companies including pharmaceutical and car manufacturers had been “storing stock in the UK for months” to avoid the Brexit jams.
France, the Netherlands and Belgium have hired extra customs officers to deal with the potential disruption caused by Brexit. ■