INCREASED government fees on goods could hurt local businesses already struggling with Brexit, the Chamber of Commerce has warned.
Higher costs of imports and exports on September 1 is ‘lumbering the private sector with another tax’, according to the Gibraltar business group.
“The new taxes, although relatively small, will cost some businesses thousands of pounds a year and will make Gibraltar less competitive for goods imported for onward delivery,” said the Chamber of Commerce.
“These taxes are an additional cost for local freight agents who have no choice but to pass it onto their clients.
“This erodes Gibraltar’s competitiveness at a time when local companies are trying to position themselves to deal with the upheaval and uncertainties of Brexit.”
Online companies undercut the local marketplace, as they are not subjected to these taxes.
The Chamber of Commerce also remarked on the way the Customs operation was still more complicated than it could be.
Importers still need to do quite a lot of legwork despite the introduction of new systems and the employment of 70 new customs officers.
“Despite the introduction of the new system, there are a number of processes which are still performed manually,” said the Chamber.
It blasted how the process involves ‘paper forms, invoices and cargo manifests’ and payments ‘made physically by cheque’ as opposed to online.
The Chamber said the problem was clear: “E-government, which has been promised by the government for many years, is still not available.”