• Animal and plant health checks
Businesses should be aware of other sector-specific temporary easements related to the trade in goods which expire in the coming months. These include the full implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures when moving products of animal origin from 1 January 2022 and the expiration of the grace period allowing certain chilled meats to continue to be imported into Northern Ireland on 1 October 2021.
• Chemicals regulation
The grace period for providing the basic information of Great Britain based businesses to grandfather their EU REACH registrations to UK REACH registrations ended on 30 April 2021. However, for downstream users based in Great Britain, businesses must notify the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN) if they want to continue importing substances from the EU or EEA by 27 October 2021. A new registration must then be submitted to the HSE within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021 depending on the tonnage bands of different substances. Businesses who require these registrations must ensure that they are able to comply with the REACH regime ahead of these dates.
• Conformity assessments
The UKCA mark came into effect in the UK on 1 January 2021. However, in order to minimise disruption to manufactured goods in the UK, the UK Government is temporarily accepting CE markings. From 1 January 2022, the UKCA mark will be required on goods placed on the market in Great Britain. To continue placing manufactured goods on the market, businesses must prepare by having the correct product registrations and conformity assessments in place.
New market opportunities
The UK Government is seeking new trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand and the US. It is also seeking to update and improve existing Free Trade Agreements with Canada and Mexico, as well as applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
New trade agreements present benefits to businesses able to quickly evaluate the agreement, adapt their plans and exploit new market opportunities. A dynamic international trade strategy is fundamental to enabling this but 44% of business don’t feel they have the skills to engage with government stakeholders on trade issues.² Quick wins to build confidence and readiness are detailed in EY’s international trade capability in 2021 report.
Critical actions for businesses
During the first half of 2021, businesses focussed on adjusting to the new rules for UK-EU trade with the aim of minimising disruption. Going forward, successful transformation must take a holistic approach to change. As a matter of priority, businesses should:
- Closely monitor deadlines marking the ending of UK easements and associated regulatory changes
- Understand the impact of these easements on their business and ensure sufficient timeframes to implement and test new systems
- Review their immigration strategy and workforce planning to optimise where and how employees are deployed across Europe including compliance for ‘work anywhere’ policies