Business English: An opportunity after Brexit

 In Brexit, Business English

The English Messed Business Up With Brexit

English businesses must be fuming with the 52% of the nation that voted to leave the European Union. Brexit leaves businesses on both sides of the channel with more than a few admin issues.

The five-year political ping-pong hasn’t helped. Brexit was a looong, drawn-out affair and the bickering between Brussels and London appears to have strained the relationship.

New rules rolled out at the turn of the year. Yet despite Britain officially leaving the European free market on 1 January 2021, it’s still not exactly clear what all the new rules will be.

There has, of course, been no delays in implementing tax and customs laws. Needless to stay, trade routes have been severed.

Michael Gove admitted Brexit changes will create “significant additional disruption” at UK borders.

Manufacturers and trade organisations have been leading the charge to voice their concerns on behalf of all English businesses.

The words “chaos” and “baffling” were used. This according to a report published in the Guardian newspaper.

Promises, Promises, Broken Promises

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson – in typical fashion – hailed his pre-Christmas Brexit negotiations as a triumph. “Zero-tariff” and “Zero quotas” were mentioned.

Meanwhile – in Brussels – the European Commission were busy updating their website. Their stance is that any European company trading with English businesses or passing goods through the UK will…

“…have to comply with different VAT rules and procedures for transactions with Great Britain than for transactions within the EU and with Northern Ireland.” ~ European Commission

It would appear the new rules and procedures according to the EC involves:

• Excise duties
• VAT on goods
• VAT on services
• Customs including preferential origin
• Exports

That “zero-tariff” promise doesn’t look very promising, does it?

Business with the English

“Bureaucracy gone mad” is not an official business English term, but it is an expression you hear ringing around offices throughout Britain. A lot.

In the first weeks of Brexit bureaucracy made everybody mad.

As the implication of the Brexit trade deal kicked in, freight traffic clogged the highways. One in 10 lorries were turned back and customs and revenue and customs are so overrun with permit requests they „can’t cope.“.

Food deliveries were delayed on the grounds that hauliers didn’t have the correct paperwork and logistics companies had to halt the shipment of goods.

Manufacturers and retailers no longer have supply chains and suppliers based in Europe have lost major clients.

Consumers will lose out as well. One British-based company has already said that customers will have to bear “all carriage costs and import duties.”

Brexit has not only complicated trade with English businesses but erects a barrier for Europeans hoping to work and live in the UK to improve their business English.

Students hoping to study in England and Europeans hoping to stay in the UK for more than 180 days will have to apply for the appropriate visa.

A portion of the 52% that voted leave are slowly beginning to realise they messed up Brexit. A recent poll indicates that 53% will remain and only 47% will leave.

I suspect the number of people that wish they could change their vote to remain will increase even more once the ripple effect of the “new rules” are realised nationwide.

For the time being, English businesses trading in Europe are bearing the brunt of Brexit.


Glossary of terms:

Business must be fuming – very angry

Brexit was a long drawn-out affair – an event stretching over a long period

Bickering between London and Brussels – arguing

Leading the charge to voice their concerns – at the front of the queue

Baffling – very confusing

Zero-tariff – no taxes charged on the product or service

Zero quotas – no limitations on the quantity allowed

VAT – Value Added Tax is levied on the price of a product or service at each stage of production, distribution, or sale to the end consumer.

Excise duties – a tax that is designed to discourage the purchase of particular goods.

Customs – administers and collects the duties levied by a government on imported goods.

Revenue – income generated from normal business operations

Carriage cost – freight costs or the expense incurred for the moving of goods from one location to another.

Import duties – a tax collected on imports and some exports by a country’s customs authorities.
Brexit bureaucracy – paperwork some people consider unnecessary

Freight traffic clogged the highways – blocked, formed queues

Bearing the brunt of Brexit – suffering the consequences

Business English – the language of business in Anglo-Saxon countries.


If you would like to improve your business English, especially concerning Brexit-related matters, call us now. We are the specialists in British business English.

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