German furniture producers bemoan extra Brexit red tape

German furniture companies are criticising extra administrative work involved in exporting to the UK because of Brexit. An internal survey carried out by the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM) and the Associations of the Wood and Furniture Industry in North-Rhine Westphalia (VHK) 94% of the manufacturers surveyed complained about more red tape involved with customs formalities. Substantial efforts were required, particularly with regard to rules and evidence about a product’s origin. The new customs clearing procedures and new rules governing pallets and export packaging were making handling even more difficult. A little over half of survey respondents also mentioned additional waits at the border, with 30% of businesses reporting delivery delays. In 2021, 42% of companies expect another decline in exports to the UK, while 36% anticipate stable exports and 22% reckon with an upturn.

German furniture exports to the UK fell by 9.3% to €421.3m in 2020 as a whole – the fourth decrease in a row. The UK is the German furniture industry’s fifth-largest export market. German upholstered furniture exports to the UK were one fifth lower at €26.6m last year. Kitchen furniture shipments were down 16.4% at €114.2m. However, the decrease in living room, dining room and bedroom furniture exports was not quite as dramatic with a 5.6% reduction to €69.3m. German furniture imports from the UK declined by 4.1% to €96.5m in 2020.

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