According to inews.co.uk, Belgian companies are being advised to avoid exporting goods to the UK after 29 March.
Any company that can, should be implementing a “Brexitpauze”, but also try to get their goods into the UK before that date.
The Chief Exec of Belgian customs, Kristian Vanderwaeren, told Belgian business newspaper De Tijd that many small and medium enterprises were not prepared to export after 29 March. “Who are we as customs to give the business world instructions? But we are still asking the SMEs and all other parties to wait. Do the necessary export to your customers before 29 March,” he said.
“Our customs authority has written letters to some 20,000 companies that trade with the UK telling them they have to apply for an EORI number, which is necessary to be able to import and export. But today, three weeks before Brexit, customs have received only 4,700 positive answers. Customs has even set up a call centre that answers questions and calls companies to get them to register for customs licences.”
Zeebrugge, Belgium’s main port, is expected to handle a million extra import declarations and 4.5 million extra export declarations if there’s a no-deal. Mr Vanderwaeren said big companies including pharmaceutical and car manufacturers had been “storing stock in the UK for months” to avoid Brexit jams. France, the Netherlands and Belgium have hired extra customs officers to deal with the potential disruption caused by Brexit.
The warning came after delays at Calais and Eurostar in Paris caused by customs officers working to rule by carrying out longer checks similar to those required after Brexit. “If the UK becomes a third country, checks will become more in-depth. This is the first full demonstration of what will happen,” CGT union official Philippe Bollengier told AFP. The strike action also showed how slow the system could be if there is no deal.