This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.

brexit news

Exporting business in the UK are lukewarm about their prospects in international trade, during a period of sustained uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

During a webinar advising businesses on what they can do to prepare for a ‘no deal Brexit’, a straw poll asked the 443 businesses attending how optimistic they felt about international trade post-Brexit.

On a scale of 1-5, where 5 indicates full optimism, 35.6% of the 278 that answered rated their optimism at a level of 3 out of 5, with 25.2% saying 4 and 20.1% saying 2.

Only 11.5% said they were very optimistic (5 out of 5) and 7.6% reported absolute pessimism (1 out of 5). The poll results, as well as the number of attendees that declined to answer, appear to suggest that businesses don’t quite yet know what the impact of Brexit will be in relation to their exporting prospects – despite the proximity of the March 29th deadline.

brexit poll

A withdrawal that preserves close ties with Europe would allow for easier continuity for businesses exporting to the continent, while a withdrawal that prioritises the UK’s ability to forge new trade relationships with markets beyond the EU could increase opportunities in new markets.

Preparing for ‘No Deal Brexit’

The poll took place during the latest Open to Export webinar seeking to give businesses advice on what they can do to prepare for Brexit, covering the impact of likely changes to VAT and customs requirement in the event of a No Deal outcome.

The Open to Export webinar programme is powered by the Institute of Export & International Trade, who are currently putting on a series of courses and consultancy offerings to help businesses plan for all likely outcomes.

Richard Bartlett, the Director of Business Development for the Institute, was joined by Claire Taylor, CEO of, in delivering the webinar. A recording can be found here:

Customs Training and Government Grants

The Institute’s training preparing businesses for Brexit includes the one-day Customs Procedures & Documentation course, which covers everything businesses need to know to enable goods to be imported and exported post Brexit.

Delays, fines and inspections are things that no company wants to endure and this course equips attendees with the information to be able to understand what is required to comply with customs and make sure you are compliant for an audit by HMRC.

This course, like others being provided by the Institute, is fundable by £2 million worth of grant funding being provided by the government towards training that helps UK businesses complete customs declarations. Applications for the grants will close on 5 April 2019, or earlier once all the funding is allocated.

Businesses can also prepare for Brexit by going on one of the Institute’s Post Brexit Planning Workshops or by doing a Brexit Healthcheck