Small and medium-sized businesses are especially badly hit as they are often unable to increase the prices they charge their customers to compensate for their own increased costs.
Unizo, the enterprise federation that represents small and medium-sized businesses has expressed concern.
Unizo’s, Danny Van Assche told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ that “Many SMEs that are dependent on imported goods are now having to run at a loss. This is because they are stuck in long-term contracts with suppliers. We are talking about raw materials from wood and aluminium to semi-finished goods such as steel and paper pulp and hi-tech products such as computer chips”.
Unizo tells businesses to stress the rise in their own costs when they are negotiating contracts with customers so that they are able to charge prices that won’t see them going into the red. However, small businesses often don’t have enough clout to be able to do this. Unizo says that the EU can and should do something to help them.
"It is important that with the European Union we create strategic stockpiles of important raw materials and semi-finished products and that we, much more than is currently the case, invest in recycling. This will make we in Europe less dependent on the rest of the world”, Mr Van Assche said.
The increase in costs for business comes on top of the other difficulties that the coronavirus pandemic has caused.