What’s the best Brexit deal for ecommerce?

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With a crucial vote for the Government on Theresa May’s negotiated Brexit deal scheduled in Parliament this Tuesday, the country is still no closer to knowing what our trading relationship with the EU will look like in 74 days time when Article 50 is scheduled to end our EU membership.

Even with rumours of Labour back benchers breaking ranks and voting in favour of the Brexit deal on the table, there are so many Conservatives who intend to vote against it that with 24 hours to go it’s hard to see a mandate in favour, although 24 hours is a long time in politics so perhaps Theresa May isn’t quite finished yet.

Bizarrely, even some of the MPs most in favour of leaving the EU are likely to vote against the proposed deal, on the grounds that they’d prefer to crash out of the EU with no deal. Simply walking away and defaulting to World Trade Organisation rules appears more appealing to them than the deal on the table.

Labour, who in theory agreed to back the will of the people and respect the referendum result, have another play in sight – that of a no confidence vote, toppling the government and putting Jeremy Corbyn in power. This would likely be with the immediate intention to delay Brexit on the grounds more time was needed to negotiate a new deal. As that’s probably dependent on 28 EU countries agreeing to a delay and their already stated determination that this is the best deal available, the levels of uncertainty in the country would only rise.

The final option would be to simply revoke Article 50 and remain within the EU for the foreseeable future but this would be unprecedented. It’s rare for the government to ask the people’s opinion but when they do it’s almost compulsory for them to respect it. Imagine the uproar that would have taken place if in the Scottish Referendum the result had been reversed with a vote to leave the UK and then Parliament voted to force them to remain. Remaining in the EU would result in MPs losing pretty much all trust and respect from their constituents – even those who voted remain.

Any of the Brexit deal options will almost certainly see Sterling tank on the money markets and the cost of living and importing sky rocket.

What really matters to online retailers isn’t how or when (or even if,) we leave the EU, but how it will impact our trading relationship with the EU. To date the government has provided precisely zero guidance under any scenario that is aimed at small or micro businesses and no intelligible advice aimed at ecommerce. Whether we leave the EU with a deal, without a deal or at some point in the future with a delayed deal, planning for your business and how it will operate in 74 days time is impossible – even the simple things like who you can employ and how to ship a parcel to Germany are still unknown.

What would be your preferred Brexit Deal? Would you take the deal Theresa May has negotiated, prefer to simply walk away and leave the EU with WTO rules, or wait for Jeremy Corbyn to crash No. 10 and either delay, attempt new negotiations or possibly rip up the idea of leaving the EU entirely?

26 Responses

  1. “What’s the best Brexit deal for ecommerce?”
    I think the answer here is, objectively, to remain in the EU.
    you may have your opinions of immigration and potential hypothetical future trade deals, none of that is a benefit for ecommerce today, the EU undeniably is.

    “Any of the Brexit deal options will almost certainly see Sterling tank on the money markets and the cost of living and importing sky rocket.”
    Yes, which is terrible news for all SME’s, all e-commerce workers and owners, and basically anyone who’s not already a millionaire. this is one of the reasons why there’s no advice about how it will affect SME’s, because the tories aren’t keen to release a press statement simply saying “you’re all utterly screwed” (although after being found in contempt of parliament, were forced to release their studies that showed exactly that).

    also rather an odd comparison with the Scottish independence referendum, had the outcome you suggested actually occured, it would be equivocal with Britain invading and occupying Iceland, or Sweden, for example, in the eyes of the international community (and our own legal and governmental precedents).
    The Brexit referendum was purely advisory, internal only, never had to be acted upon, and was so ridiculously choc-full of lies, cheating, corruption and fraud, now proven in multiple courts, that the whole thing should rightfully be declared void if you have any legitimate interest in protecting the reputation of politics (nobody cares about that, least of all the corrupt politicians, they will however chant relentlessly about “the people’s will” whenever it suits their agenda).

  2. Brexit means Brexit, lets just tell the EU where they can stick their deal and worry about the consequences later

  3. Usual responses above – I would have hoped for something more realistic guys! A No Deal/WTO outcome would drop the pound, but for goods that already paid for coming in from the far east that wouldn’t be a problem, in the future it would push up inflation to a crazy level. We can obviously export to the EU retail customers VAT free, which would make up for delays and import issues in most minds. The other issue solver is if RM and the couriers come up with decent DDP services..

    Port management and infrastructure is key in the whole thing, given the lack of this and forward planning I’d be quite happy to see a pause/delay in leaving for 2 years (however achieved) to allow for the necessary works on both sides of the channel…

  4. Hi Ollie, what you’ve said there is LITERALLY the entire problem with this whole debate.
    No, let’s not tell our LARGEST TRADING PARTNER where to stick it and see what happens, this is the kind of attitude that causes recessions and it doesn’t matter who you vote for or what your views are on Brexit.
    In my opinion, there never was a ‘good deal with the EU’ that is ever going to better than the one we have at the moment. You cannot leave a ‘club’ and still have the same benefits as when you were a member, there is literally no example of this working anywhere.
    So, the fact is that it’s going to cost us in SO MANY WAYS to leave the EU and the Boris-benefits that we’ve been promised will take years and years to happen, if they happen at all.
    But, this is what was voted for so we’ll have to suffer the consequences. My only suggestion to the EU (because they listen to me 😉 ) is that in future, they might want to look at the ECJ and maybe remove the juristiction of that and the open borders etc.
    I can see a future, but it would have to be trade only, and not laws and freedom of movement because it’s clearly what’s triggered this whole diabolically managed situation in the first place.
    Also, it doesn’t matter who was in charge during this process, there is no govt that could have negotiated a deal that’s a good as the one we have right now so the Corbyn brigade can stop acting like he’s some messiah that could have fixed all this, he couldn’t, May can’t and neither could any of the other clowns.

  5. I’m not going to get dragged into political debate – I have my views on Brexit. However, while I can’t pretend to have any clear answers, I do think that inspiration can be found in the principles of natural selection. The winner in any evolutionary race is not who is biggest and strongest today, but whoever has the power to adapt tomorrow.

    Therefore I would say that those who are most agile and able to change will do best in any given scenario. That could involve finding new markets, or new processes, or new software, or some other way to move things forward.

    The only other thing I’ll say is: the very best of British luck to everyone!

  6. “To date the government has provided precisely zero guidance under any scenario that is aimed at small or micro businesses and no intelligible advice aimed at ecommerce”.
    We do NOT exist…
    quote from part of a email from a EU marketplace I work with….
    “We are also awaiting what will happen with Brexit as it will have consequences as well with the UK sellers we have onboarded and business going forward”

    We are just sitting in LIMBO, not buying stock, not investing as we cant afford to make mistakes…one of the reasons I have cooled my jets banked my money, as most my sales are EU (profitable ones anyway)….I do not know if suddenly am facing customs delays etc…in this day and age people do not wait…

    I think Maybots deal is a starting point, you should respect the result ever how missold it was or you will give rise to the right wing extremists. However you hold the Boris’s accountable.
    From a personal point of view I would also like to have a vote to see if we remained in the UK also but that is another story…
    I would vote for the Maybots deal and start from there….The just leave and everything will be rosey is a total fantasy, people are paid poorly enough in this country and are struggling as it is without the “cliff edge”.
    Patience and leave orderly on your own terms bit by bit.

  7. Time to leave the protectionist failing EU (German) dictatorship that is building an army to fight Russia and the USA. When WW3 starts the Remainers will conscripted by Junker to fight against their own people, they’ll love that. Traitors one and all.

  8. Interesting selection of comments – the pro-Brexit ones are surely parody (either that, or there are some SERIOUS nutjobs reading the site!)

  9. It’s groundhog day again. This conversation or series of comments repeats every time this topic comes up. Basically we see those that want to leave saying,
    “Just leave and to hell with it.”
    Then we have those that want to stay giving all the same old trite arguments, nodding with self assured confidence that their contribution to the debate is the wisest of all and that their prophecy will surely come to pass.

    The fact is No-One Knows what will happen. You can analyse and postulate till the cows come home but the subject is far too complex and no human mind can say what is going to happen to the economy with any surety.

    One thing that is sure and we do know about is that a democratic vote was taken and the decision was made by the people to leave the EU. That was the majority decision and everyone should abide by it. Individual likes or dislikes now play no part in the process. We should leave at the earliest opportunity whether there is a deal or not. That is what the laws of our land have decreed and that is what should happen.

    Saying we will never get as good a deal is irrelevant because it was the deal we had that set all this in motion, because it was crap and oppressive. The British people didn’t like it and wanted it changed, but Europe wouldn’t do it.

    The fact is if this government does not fulfil the democratic vote and pull us out, if they go back on their responsibilities and perform the work they are elected for; that will cause more damage to the UK society, to our freedom, and to our credibility in the world than any deal or no deal.

    Instead of arguing and endlessly debating a subject that already has a known outcome, i.e. we are leaving, shouldn’t we all be getting together, especially the politicians, pooling our ideas, and working out how to make it work in the best way possible?

  10. The EU needs reform, no dount about it.
    Their court should have no influence on ours, assylum seekers going through Spain, then France to get to the UK should not be happening.
    This is a knee jerk reaction to all of this and it needn’t have happened.
    Brexiteers will never be disuaded and neither will I.

  11. Put it this way if we don’t leave when we said we wanted to and vote proved that and done democratically then I will never vote again because if it does not happen then what is the point in voting.
    Over the past months all I hear is the Scottish saying they voted to remain. They did not. We voted not as Englishmen, Scottish or Welsh or Irish but as residents of the United Kingdom. We voted as one and that is why it must stand.


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