Analyses & Studies

The UK-France Business Dashboard: Trade barriers


The new UK-France Business Dashboard points to customs and border procedures as the most significant barriers to exporting from France to the UK, with key findings from our 2023 membership survey.

This finding is particularly relevant in light of the UK's new trading status. The end of free movement of goods has led to delays at borders, a surge in paperwork, and a lack of clarity on regulatory alignment, all of which are deterrents to smooth trade operations. The survey's findings regarding increased operational costs align with the broader economic realities in the UK, where inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions have led to rising business expenses.

The impact of these factors on French SMEs is particularly acute in sectors like retail and support services, where tariffs, non-tariff barriers, and customs complexities can further strain profit margins. The introduction of new tariffs and customs procedures following the UK's departure from the EU has undoubtedly added layers of complexity and cost for French exporters. While the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) aims to facilitate trade between the UK and the EU, the implementation of new regulatory requirements and customs processes has created initial hurdles for businesses adapting to the post-Brexit landscape.

Competition from local companies also emerged as a notable barrier. With the UK market becoming more inward-looking and the government promoting "Buy British" policies to stimulate the domestic economy, French companies are finding it increasingly challenging to compete. Additionally, issues such as payment and currency fluctuations have been highlighted, which may be exacerbated by the volatile political climate and the UK's economic policies in response to both Brexit and the pandemic's economic fallout.

The introduction of the Border Target Operating Model measures in January 2024 is expected to further streamline customs procedures and reduce delays for French SMEs exporting to the UK. However, the implementation of a new model could also generate slight disruption at the beginning, as businesses adapt to new procedures. It is designed to provide a more consistent and predictable border experience for businesses, which should help to mitigate some of the challenges identified in the survey.


The French Chamber is launching the new UK-France Business Dashboard, a dynamic tool providing valuable insights into the Franco-British business community. This innovative dashboard features two main sections: key findings from the French Chamber Membership Survey 2023 and an economic overview of the UK and France.

Discover the Dashboard

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