29th March 2017 marks the historic day in British history as Prime Minister Theresa May sends a letter to European President Donald Tusk triggering Article 50 and our leaving of the European Union, known as Brexit. A large topic for debate with many left wondering just where this will leave UK and the businesses within it. One company who, after a recent event involving Switzerland, now have serious doubts about leaving the EU is Mobile Bar Hire based in Dartford, Kent.
The portable bar providers were asked on Monday 20th March to deliver a bar counter to Switzerland for Thursday 23rd. A mean feat for many businesses but Mobile Bar Hire are well use to providing bars on the continent and began organising the install.
However, the business came across a problem – Switzerland are not part of the EU Free Trade agreement meaning the SME would need to pay over £600 for an accelerated ATA Carnet, a document that allows goods to enter the country. This unforeseen costing was forwarded to the client who themselves were surprised at the additional documentation required when importing from the UK.
Mobile Bar Hire’s Directors called the Swiss High Commission in London and Swiss Customs in Switzerland on several occasions to try and rectify the issue but to no avail.
Due to the increased costings incurred, Mobile Bar Hire were not able to provide the service for one of their largest clients whom had to source bar counters within Switzerland to overcome this ATA Carnet issue.
This has left the bar providers worrying for their future expansion as they have recently provided bars in France, Italy and Latvia and are concerned that leaving the EU will force European clients to source equipment from within their own countries due to what may well be increased costs for Mobile Bar Hire to import goods.
Mobile Bar Hire Director Ragbhir Sandhu said, ‘Having expanded our European coverage greatly in the past few years, this incident with Swiss documentation which has lost us a large contract is very concerning. We are likely to have the same border type as Switzerland when it comes to trade at the end of the two-year negotiations of Brexit and if we are being charged to import goods to Europe, we will either have to absorb the cost and lose margin or have to pass it onto clients who may well look elsewhere. Although I have every confidence in the Prime Minister, I sincerely hope that she and her team can obtain the best deal possible to ensure British business can boom inside and outside of our borders.’
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