Business in Dorset are being urged to prepare for Brexit whether there is a free trade agreement with the EU or not.
The Dorset Chamber says it is particularly pressing for importers and exporters to have the correct paperwork in place.
The Chamber – the county’s leading business support organisation – has been providing a wide range of Brexit advice and international trade support.
Chief executive Ian Girling said: “It is not easy for business at this moment in time.
“With the threat of a resurgent Coronavirus and continued uncertainty over Brexit, it is no wonder that some will have pushed preparations down their ‘to do’ list.
“But firms who trade with Europe will need customs declarations in place whatever happens.
“These are complex documents and necessary for importing and exporting, otherwise goods will just sit at customs.
“Our international trade department is fully qualified and highly experienced in dealing with this documentation for members and non-members.”
Ian added: “I would encourage all those who may be affected to start addressing this as a matter of urgency.”
The plea comes as the Government launches a ‘time is running out’ campaign to raise awareness about new rules following Brexit.
As well as customs procedures, regulations covering VISAs, work permits, overseas employment, immigration and data may affect businesses.
The Chamber is working with the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership to bolster support on offer to businesses looking to grow through international trade.
Ian said: “We intend to extend the remit of the Dorset Gateway business support service to handle questions around Brexit and international trade.
“Dorset LEP will also be funding a limited number of customs declarations for businesses having to complete these for the first time, subject to eligibility.”
Dorset Chamber, the voice of business in the county, has an extensive package of Brexit advice on its website and has a Brexit hotline to deal with concerns.
Its international trade department helped Dorset businesses export over £92m worth of goods in the first nine months of this year.
Visit https://dorsetchamber.co.uk/brexit-support/ or call the Brexit hotline on 01202 714800 for more details.