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Overcoming the red tape challenge in international markets

13th Nov 2020 2 min read

International markets give UK businesses an excellent opportunity to find new sources of growth. However new research from the Santander Trade Barometer shows that while companies recognise the value of overseas expansion, bureaucracy is the biggest obstacle to success that they face.


Indeed, 40% of businesses say that dealing with bureaucracy in international markets is a major challenge, while the same proportion expect post-Brexit regulatory changes to also pose problems.

These issues even outweigh the obstacles posed by the coronavirus pandemic, which 38% of firms say is a current barrier to international trade.

The Trade Barometer reveals details of the specific difficulties that businesses face when it comes to red tape linked to their international operations.

  • 50% of firms say dealing with export documentation, such as customs duties and certification requirements is their biggest issue.
  • 45% say local tax and employment legislation.
  • 43% identify product regulations in the target market.

At the end of the post-Brexit transition period there could be problems with changes in trading rules. Most businesses are concerned about the potential increased costs and delays of trading with European Union (EU) member states.

  • 70% of firms which are worried about post-Brexit red tape say this is an issue.
  • 55% foresee problems in obtaining regulatory approval for products.
  • 54% are concerned about new tariffs on both imports and exports.