Now that Brexit has been approved, what will happen?
The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020. The rest of the year will be a transition period in which the business community won’t necessarily feel the impact of Brexit. In 2020, people, goods, services and capital can still move freely between mainland Europe and the other side of the Channel. Yet it is important to be prepared.
How far along is Brexit?
Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won an absolute majority during the UK parliamentary elections on 12 December. As expected, the Brexit ball started rolling again. The renewed resignation agreement of the prime minister was approved for the first time before the Christmas period in the British House of Commons.
Until the end of the year, we are in a transition period in which mainly political decisions are made. The UK and the EU are negotiating their relationship in trade, security and defense, international cooperation, etc. The negotiators are trying to conclude a new free trade agreement. It seems that the negotiations are moving toward an agreement with zero tariffs, zero quotas.
If the EU and the UK fail to reach a free trade agreement before the end of the transition period, the United Kingdom will still leave the EU in a no-deal scenario. Under Boris Johnson, the British parliament approved a clause that makes an extension of the transition period illegal in principle. It is precisely for this reason that it is important that companies do not sit still and that they use this period to work on these final must-do's.
1. Are you registered to import and export?
Do you have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI) number on both the British and European side of the Channel? You will need an EORI number for the mandatory customs formalities in the EU and the United Kingdom.
2. Do you need customs permits to trade smoothly?
Evaluate your customs permits and analyze whether they facilitate your trade. Customs permits can simplify the import and export process. Following the Brexit, it might be good to renew your customs permits, expand them with the UK or replace them with local permits. Apply for these permits in time.
3. Is there sufficient knowledge available in your company?
Knowledge of customs legislation, customs processes and customs formalities will be a must. To continue your trade with the United Kingdom, you will have to deal with specific procedures. For companies with little experience in import and export, that is a challenge. Invest in the training of your employees or contact a customs representative who can act on your behalf.