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28th March 2024

Costly paperwork burden lifted for UK steel product exporters

Thousands of UK businesses are breathing a huge sigh of relief after the European Union decided to lift a huge paperwork burden.

Since last autumn, companies exporting products containing iron and steel to the EU, have been required to provide ‘mill certificates’ to prove the elements did not originate from Russia. This proved either expensive or impossible for many UK businesses resulting in the loss of crucial export markets.

Following months of talks by the British Chambers of Commerce, with UK and European officials, the EU has now scrapped the paperwork requirement. Officials in Brussels have now designated the UK as a partner country on steel sanctions against Russia, meaning the certification paperwork is no longer needed.

Paul Butterworth, CEO of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said:

“Businesses in Wales will be pleased that the European Union has decided to lift this costly paperwork burden. The news will be a timely and welcome boost for Welsh exporters as crucial markets and opportunities reopen to them.

“Steel has been and continues to be a significant industry in Wales; from the producers such as Tata Steel in Port Talbot to the manufacturers and fabricators who utilise steel and iron for their products throughout the supply chain. The steel industry has an impact on many local communities and supply chains, so positive changes such as this also provide wider regional benefits for now and for the future of Wales’ economy.”

Commenting on the announcement from the European Union, the BCC’s Head of Trade Policy William Bain said:

“Businesses up and down the country will be delighted at this outcome. A lot of hard work has got us to this position, which is strongly welcomed by the whole Chamber Network.

“We had many meetings and communications with both the UK government and the EU to highlight the negative impact the mill certificate requirements were having. In roundtables with senior officials, firms bravely described their experiences of ongoing lost orders and cash flow issues.

“Without those accounts from real businesses about the nature of the problem, and the need for a pragmatic fix, we could not have got this far. We’d like to thank to UK and EU officials for listening to the concerns of businesses and agreeing a solution.

“This is a big win for the collective power of our Chamber network. It’s a welcome boost for thousands of British exporters ahead of the Easter weekend.”

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