Brexit – What now for businesses that trade with the EU?
There is still uncertainty around what Brexit will mean and planning for a “No Deal” scenario seems sensible right now. Businesses that buy and sell from the EU should have contingency plans in place which will need to be flexible to cope with a variety of possible outcomes.
If a ‘No Deal’ happens after March 2019 here are some of the areas you should consider:
Movement of goods
Customs declarations will need to be made and the UK is implementing a new electronic customs declaration system for businesses, so check if your systems and processes are up to scratch. UK businesses will need a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number and you can find the forms on the Gov.uk web site, Brexit section: https://www.gov.uk/government/brexit
You may also need an agent to help with import/export declarations as you would for trading outside the EU. Check whether you need additional information from your carrier. Importers can register for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) deferring declarations and paying duty at the border. There is HMRC guidance on the new electronic customs system in the Brexit section on the Gov.uk website (link as above).
An essential exercise for all businesses is Supply Chain Mapping – knowing where inputs come from and what product category they fall into can help assess potential tariffs. For businesses that only exported to the EU this will be new and could be time-consuming. Further guidance can be found in the “Trade Topics” section of the World Trade Organization (WTO) website: https://www.wto.org/index.htm. The EU Tariffs can be found at http://madb.europa.eu/madb/euTariffs.htm
UK product standards and regulations will be aligned to the EU at the point of exit, however in the event of “No Deal” then UK assessment and certification arrangements could cease to be recognised by the EU. See the Brexit section of the Gov.uk website for further guidance.
Business contracts and employees
If you have contracts with EU companies these may need to be redrafted to clarify the terms for trade, including VAT changes. If your business employs EU nationals then they should register for settled status. You will need to track the nationality status of employees going forward to ensure compliance with immigration rules and regulations.
Whether there is a “No Deal”, a brief delay in the UK’s departure and a “deal” or a longer period of transition we advise all businesses to research all scenarios and “plan for the worst and hope for the best”.