Catalan exports to UK adapting to Brexit risks

ACCIÓ Director of Internationalization Cristina Serradell on nature of UK-Catalan trade, and post-Brexit concerns

ACCIÓ Director of Internationalization Cristina Serradell, January 30, 2020, (by Lorcan Doherty)
ACCIÓ Director of Internationalization Cristina Serradell, January 30, 2020, (by Lorcan Doherty) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 9, 2020 03:45 PM

The UK is Catalonia's fifth largest trading partner. That trading relationahip is bound to change following the UK's departure from the EU

Catalan News spoke to Cristina Serradell, Director of Internationalization at ACCIÓ, the Catalonian trade and investment body, to find out how Catalan companies that trade with the UK are adapting.

What is the nature of the trade between Catalonia and the UK?

"We export mostly vehicles or vehicle components. This is the main [export], about 37% of what we export into the UK. We also export food stuffs,  chemical products, and a lot of electrical materials and machinery. And we import from the UK also components and automotive products and a lot of chemical products so it's quite an intertwined relationship we have."

What kind of companies may be particularly exposed by Brexit?

"We're worried because there's a lot of companies that sell into the UK that only trade with the EU and whatever happens there will be a new relationship with the UK and a lot of export processes will need to be in place. These companies are not used to using different certification, all these export documents, because you don't need them for the EU now. So these companies need to adapt. We're focusing a lot on these smaller companies that are not used to exporting into third countries, they're only used to exporting within the EU, and to prepare them if they want to continue having business with the UK."

What concerns do companies have?

They're worried about what's going to happen, what will the new situation be, which we don't know as from now, still we have a transitional period until the end of the year which means nothing will change. No regulations will change, or logistics, or anything with border controls. But they want to prepare and see what's going to happen in the future and how it will affect [them]. What are the risks and how much are they exposed to these risks? But, on the other hand, what are the opportunities that might arise from brexit?"