Of course, we cannot ignore Brexit. Nine months on, what is the verdict for our Belgian exporters?
MV: It’s definitely not a gift, for anyone, not for the companies in Belgium, not for the companies in the UK. The companies that lose out the most are those that were not prepared and the small online companies that have to go through the same paperwork for one box that they send as companies that send a container. As always, there are solutions but they cost time and money and someone has to pay for them. Also, sending people here to work is no longer as obvious as it used to be. EU citizens are now treated in the same way as the rest of the world. Here too, we offer tailor-made solutions.
Let’s look beyond the Brexit for a moment. What opportunities do you see for Belgian companies on the British market?
MV: Some companies have immediately grasped the opportunity to offer their services they used to offer on an EU level, now specifically tailored for the UK. This way they broaden their customer base, increase their turnover and stay ahead of their competitors. Others persevere despite the new red tape associated with imports, while competitors drop out or cannot offer the same service. What also helps is that once a Belgian company knows how to export to a non-EU country, in this case the UK, they are less afraid to consider other third countries. Specifically for the UK, there are still many opportunities in all sectors. It remains a very large economic power on a European level and we see that, despite Brexit, companies keep coming here to get a piece of the pie.
How can Belgian companies best contact you?
MV: Companies can call, email, Zoom or link to us via LinkedIn at any time. The intention is to be back in Belgium at least every two months to visit companies where needed. Of course, they are also welcome to visit our offices in London or Northern England. Our door is always open for companies that want to invest or export here, employ people, are active in construction, come to build installations. You name it, we do it.