The Brexit trade deal has benefited a handful of economic sectors in the UK since its inception but a majority of sectors have been hit hard by trade issues that have arisen as a result of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Boris Johnson has referred to the trade complications as the “teething phase” but the chocolate industry has experienced a sort of meltdown during this phase.
The tariffs and restrictions have stalled the UK’s second-largest food and beverage export (whisky is the first apparently) throughout Europe. The owner of The Chocolatier, Aneesh Popat lamented:
We sent a palette of drinking chocolate to a customer in Paris on
Jan. 4, and it came back to our company yesterday (April 1)… We’ve lost our entire European Trade… Worse than that, we’ve lost our reputation, because when we send pallets of chocolate to, say, Germany and it disappears or we can’t track it, our customers don’t blame the courier. They blame us.
The much-beloved Chocolate Tree company, run by Alistair Gower from Scotland has only been able to successfully export one batch in an order worth approximately €6,500. In that case, although the shipment was destined for France, it went through a Dutch port, where it was held upon a request for €4,000 in taxes.
Alistair was able to clear up the issue with the help of a shipping agent, but many companies are now simply not exporting to the EU at all.
The New York Times reports that Simone Schlief, a fan of The Chocolate Tree, is “especially fond of the whiskey-flavoured nibs the company makes.” (Ed. – I have tried this bar myself – picture below).
However, for some chocolate companies, their European sales made up a sizeable amount of their business before Brexit, and in many cases that business has gone to zero overnight.