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What Brexit changed for the flower market

The UK's new trading relationship with the European Union (EU) might only be a few months old. But some businesses are struggling to adjust to the new trading landscape outside of the customs union and single market. Firms across four different sectors share their stories of rising costs, extra paperwork and packages that never arrive. New rules have come into force for those in the UK either importing from, or exporting to, Europe.

Exactly what licenses are needed or what duties must be paid depends on what is being exported, its value, where the product originates from and to which country it is being sent, according to government guidance. From 1 January, the UK government introduced a rule that VAT must be collected at the point of sale rather than the point of import.

The flower grower - 'Each load is probably costing us about £200 extra'

Diane Collison has been responsible for helping her firm, Collison Cut Flowers, adapt to post-Brexit changes. The Norfolk cut flower producer imports 35 million bulbs a year - mostly tulips from Holland, scented stock and lilies. The government recently pushed back introducing new checks on most imported plants until 2022. But some of the bulbs imported by Collison's Cut Flowers count as "high-risk", so they have already had to make some changes.

Diane has registered the business as a "place of destination", where plants could be checked by local health teams, and for an EORI number so the firm can bring EU goods into the UK. Day-to-day, she must email a freight forwarding business details of expected deliveries before they hit UK ports. That's on top of registering invoices and plant health certificates with UK authorities. "Each load is probably costing us about £200 extra now - and at about 150 per year that's not an insignificant amount of money," Diane says.

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