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Brexit: not good news for European candle makers...

Here we go again! Less than a month after I rewrote the article where I was wondering whether ordering supplies from the United States was a clever thing to do or not, here I am writing an almost similar piece about the United Kingdom.

Brexit is a fact since december the thirty-first at midnight and the consequences thereof can already be felt, on the Island and in continental Europe alike.

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There's not a living cell on this planet that is unaware of the fact that the United Kingdom has left the European Union. That it was never going to be a smooth transition, on whatever side you happen to be, everybody kind of expected it. So today, almost one month after the divorce, what are the effects of Brexit for us, candle makers?

Issues differ in function of what side of the Channel you call home...

Our friends who are UK-based are having, as we speak, a bloody hard time finding a supplier with any stock of any kind of wax, especially the popular ones like Ecosoya, Kerasoy or Golden Wax. The reason for that is simple: in every single seaport of the British kingdom, thousands of freight containers are piled up, waiting to be cleared by customs, thanks to the new administrative burden resulting from not being part of the EU anymore. It will probably take several more weeks before things settle down and import / export operations find a new cruise speed.

To make matters worse, some suppliers have stopped shipping anywhere but domestically as they're still trying to understand the implications of the new situation. Also, websites and shipping calculators need to be updated accordingly.

If that supply and demand problem is temporary, there's another one that's here to stay. For good. To continental Europe candle makers, to me anyway, the UK was nothing short of a paradise where several great suppliers operate, making a wide range of quality products available that you would have a hard time finding anywhere else. And now, ladies and gentlemen, we find ourselves in the exact same situation we have always been when dealing with the United States: VAT, import taxes, customs taxes, administrative taxes.

As I often did in the past, I placed an order two weeks ago with Candle Shack. Nothing too exciting, a nice selection of wicks for a total of 27 GBP (just over 30 euros). Shipping costs: 13.50 GBP (15 euros, oochh...)

Until now, no difference with 2020. Until I received an invitation to pay from the transport company that had been charged with delivering my order. No import taxes (probably due to the relatively low amount) but 6.21 euros VAT and 6.05 euros for an administrative tax, whatever that is. Bringing the total of my order to 57.90 euros. Close to double what the wicks cost.

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This means two things: starting now, most of us will have to think twice before placing an order with a UK supplier. And there's a great opportunity here for anyone ready to throw himself in the challenging but exciting business of reselling a wide range of quality, brand name candle making supplies from the shores of our old continent.

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