A SCOTTISH business has ceased all international trade after its owner said the impact of Brexit led to long waiting times, missed parcels and exorbitant costs.

Derek Cowie founded Breaking Point Limited in 1996, which he says is the UK’s largest vendor of second-hand motorbike parts.

The Aberdeen-based firm employs four people and despite the setbacks Cowie pins on Brexit, the owner said both supply and demand are high.

Echoing similar calls to other Scots firms that sold to the EU, Cowie said new rules around foreign trade are making it financially unviable for him to sell outwith the UK.

He said: “We [were] just having so many problems sending stuff abroad that it became pointless. We just couldn’t do it anymore. So I lost that business completely.

“I think we’ve lost probably about 10% of our business.”

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Cowie said this comes on top of the lingering effects of the Covid pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis squeezing consumer wallets.

He continued: “I clear garages out now too, and one time I’d cleared this old boy just a couple of years ago with so much old car stuff and it was all going to Europe.

“Loads of it went to Europe up till about November last year, and then come December, stuff just started getting stuck in customs. It wasn’t making it across and people over there were getting charged exorbitant amounts of money just to pick the damn stuff up.

“And then we were getting VAT bills as well for stuff I had no idea what the hell it was.

“We’re still getting them a little bit. UPS [has a] strange habit of sending out bills with nothing on them. They just say you’re due this VAT. And then you chase them up in the parcel’s not even yours.”

Cowie said he knows it’s Brexit that’s causing the havoc, as it’s his foreign shipments that are mostly being impacted by newly created post-Brexit red tape, adding that the troubles started after the UK’s departure took effect.

He said: “It’s Brexit because we couldn’t get the stuff abroad. We couldn’t get codes for half of these products. We even lost business to Northern Ireland for a while.”

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Cowie said if his business sends an item outwith the British mainland through a courier, it requires a specific code relating to what’s inside the parcel. He said when he phoned up the UK Government, many of the codes needed for second hand parts simply didn’t exist.

“Because our parts are used, they go into a different category, and they just couldn’t come up with the codes for them. So we just couldn’t send them,” he said.

But it’s not just trade with the EU that Brexit has affected, as Cowie says international business outside the EU is also much harder.

He explained: “So we now have a problem even sending anywhere abroad because I mean Britain has trade agreements with hardly anyone.

“We tried a few times and even Canada didn’t make it as they said we didn’t have the right codes for the parts, the origin of the parts, because the parts can be made by two or three different countries.

“Nobody thinks about the second-hand market at all. And yet really, I think it’s a really important market. We started recycling before it was even fashionable.”

Cowie said he feels like his business hasn’t been considered by the UK Government through Brexit negotiations.

Cowie no longer sells abroad, and he says Brexit is causing issues with how he plans ahead for his firm. And in an age of next and even same-day delivery, a two-week wait is more than most will tolerate.

“We can’t look outwardly,” he explained. “And I’m really not confident about even sending to the US or to Canada anymore.

“It’s not just that it’s costing more, it’s taking an awful lot longer for parts to get there. And people don’t want to be waiting a month, especially when they’re paying on eBay – they want it tomorrow.”

A Department for International Trade spokesperson said: “Through our Export Support Service, expanded export academies and a landmark export strategy, we are ensuring that businesses of all sizes have the support they need to trade effectively with Europe and seize new opportunities as we strike trade deals around the world.

“The export support we have offered and continue to develop will only help small businesses get onto the exports ladder for the first time, both with the EU and all the nations we are signing new free trade agreements with on a regular basis.”

If your business has been affected by Brexit, get in touch. Email Craig.Meighan@newsquest.co.uk or head to https://www.thenational.scot/my/ccn/assignment/csaxV6fx/