Brexit is not a distant reality any more. Britain is going to part ways from the European Union on 31 October 2019, after decades of association. Brexit would impact businesses of all size and scale, operating across sectors. The impact might be more pronounced on businesses involved in cross-border transactions.
Businesses are advised to prepare for all eventualities including a no-deal Brexit. It’s crucial for organisations to act now to be in a resilient position – to adapt quickly and thrive. Here’s a checklist for businesses to assess where they stand in their Brexit preparations.
Review your EU workforce
Businesses should review staff who are EU citizens or who have close family members who are EU citizens. Support affected employees with registering under the EU Settlement Scheme as all EU citizens wishing to remain in the UK must register under the Scheme.
Rationale: Availability and cost of local labour may change post Brexit.
Check if you need an EORI number
An Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is used by customs and other authorities to monitor and track shipments coming into and out of the EU. Businesses will need a UK EORI 12-digit number starting with ‘GB’ to continue to move goods in or out of the UK if there’s no Brexit deal.
Rationale: Without an EORI number, businesses may face increased costs and delays.
Register for simplified importing procedures
Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for customs will make importing easier for an initial period of one year, in the event of no-deal. It will allow businesses time to prepare for usual import processes.
Rationale: Businesses bringing goods into the UK can use TSP to avoid making full customs declarations at borders and postpone paying import duties. Note: UK EORI number is required for registration.
Check import/export tariffs
Businesses should check commodity codes to find out what tariffs will apply to their products. Also, it needs to be checked what WTO tariffs will be introduced following no-deal. Temporary tariffs will be introduced for imports in case of no-deal which will be applicable for 12 months.
Rationale: If UK leaves without a deal, both imports and exports will be subject to new tariffs. If a deal is agreed before Brexit then no tariffs would apply during the transition period.
Monitor regulatory changes
Businesses should actively identify any regulatory changes applicable to their products or service. Creating a key issues document and monitor this regularly will help. Considering sector-specific impacts such as health certificates for food, REACH for chemicals sector, medical device regulations, clinical trials, etc. will be critical.
Rationale: In the event of no-deal, UK regulations will be introduced to replace EU regulations. Businesses would need to obtain new regulatory authorisations.
Stay updated with data protection laws
For businesses operating across the EU or involved in transaction of personal data with partners in the bloc, it would be essential to comply with the legislations governing data protection.
Rationale: Flouting data protection laws can incur hefty fines.
Be aware of passport rules before traveling to Europe
Businesses need to ensure that employees can continue to travel between the UK and EU, particularly in the weeks immediately following Brexit. Employees should check if they have at least 6 months left on their UK passport to travel to most countries in Europe. International Driving Permit might be required to drive in the EU.
Rationale: If UK leaves without a deal on 31 October, British passport holders travelling to Europe will be subject to new rules. Organisations should be vigilant to avoid disruptions in business travel post Brexit.