The British government has released 25 papers advising different business sectors and individuals on what they should do to prepare for a ‘no-deal Brexit’. These are the first of 80 such documents with specific advice for businesses.
If you ship goods to the EU, it’s well worth having a look at the advice related to sending goods to member states if you trade internationally at the moment. (There’s also advice related to imports which will be relevant to many too.) In the event of a no-deal Brexit, also called a hard Brexit, the UK will leave the European Union on the 30th March 2019. That’s in 218 days time.
There are numerous topics addressed, including issues related to healthcare supplies and nuclear material, but the document of direct importance and interest to ecommerce merchants shipping goods to the EU is Trading with the EU if there’s no Brexit deal. You can find the full document here.
Businesses should now consider the impacts on them in a ‘no deal’ scenario, which would mean a requirement to apply the same customs and excise rules to goods traded with the EU that apply for goods traded outside of the EU, including the requirement to submit customs declarations. Businesses should consider whether it is appropriate for them to acquire software and/or engage a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider to support them with these new requirements.
– UK Government
And one specific issue relates to the UK’s only land border with the EU between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The commentary here is very vague:
We will provide more information in due course. The Irish government have indicated they would need to discuss arrangements in the event of no deal with the European Commission and EU member states. We would recommend that, if you trade across the land border, you should consider whether you will need advice from the Irish government about preparations you need to make.
– UK Government
There is lots to absorb and understand here. But one message is clear: exports to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit will need more paperwork and likely experience delays should this eventuality occur. The real question is what the likelihood of there being no Brexit deal really is. Some politicians say that there is a 50% probability of no agreement being made.
There’s probably no point in expending a great deal of energy just yet preparing for a Hard Brexit. It should become clear in the next month or so whether an agreement will be made or not. The EU has said it wants the principles of a draft agreement to be approved at a summit in October.