Please find below an update on the steps businesses need to take to prepare for a potential ‘no-deal’ exit. We understand that you may have already received some of this information, however we are keen that you have as much up to date guidance as possible. Clearly the Government’s priority is securing agreement on a deal but it is sensible that we and you take steps to mitigate risks that will arise in the event of no deal.
If you would find it helpful, we intend to send a consolidated email periodically with the latest suggested actions and guidance, to avoid filling your inboxes every time something new is released. Please do let us know if you would like a colleague or other business added. Also let us know if you’d prefer not to receive these emails and we will remove you from the distribution list. You can also sign up for email updates on customs, VAT and related processes direct from HMRC here and more general updates from the Department for Exiting the European Union here.
Finally if you have any questions on any of the below or indeed any other questions in relation to EU Exit, please let us know and we’ll do our best to try and answer or point you in the right direction. It would also be very helpful for us to hear from you about your planning for EU Exit and support we may be able to offer you – please reply to this email if you would appreciate talking to a member of the team.
Additionally, we would welcome your feedback on the guidance that has been published by the Government so we can work with colleagues to ensure that the information available to you is as comprehensive and clear as possible.
HMRC Partnership Pack – Just before Christmas HMRC published a revised Partnership Pack which has specific advice to businesses on what planning is needed now to carry on importing and exporting in the event of a no deal. The bulk of the pack promotes the following actions/online guides:
- Get a UK EORI number to trade within the EU
- Ensure that your contracts and International Terms and Conditions of Service (INCOTERMS) with EU suppliers and customers can be amended reflect that you would be an importer/exporter
- Import and export procedure step-by-step process guides and related guidance, including checking the type of goods and associated tariffs, using the correct codes, getting licences if needed, providing the right paperwork
- Moving goods to and from the EU through roll-on roll-off road freight, including Eurotunnel
- Changes to business VAT
- Moving goods currently regulated at EU level, such as those with CE markings
- Guidance for controlled goods and materials requiring import/export licences, including certain categories of chemicals (see ‘Specialist Traders’ section at pages 78-99)
Do you intend to process your own customs declarations and/or need changes to your IT systems to comply with customs processes?
If so, you may wish to apply for funding to help you train staff or update systems. Further details are available here.
Does your business use chemicals? – If your business uses chemicals (even if you do not make them or trade in them), you will need to take action to prepare for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. You may take on new regulatory responsibility you did not previously have, for example if you import chemicals from the EU you may need to become the registrant for UK REACH.
- Visit the HSE Brexit webpage for information on how each of the chemicals regimes will be affected. The web page includes guidance on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Plant Protection Products (PPPs, pesticides), Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), Classifying, labelling and packaging (CLP) and Prior Informed Consent (PIC).
- Refer to the Additional Guidance for specific information on REACH, including actions for businesses using but not producing chemicals. Actions for different types of businesses to take are summarised in this Summary Table.
- Check contingency plans across your supply chain to understand what information you may need to supply to UK agencies, logistics providers, suppliers and customers.
Immigration White Paper – The Home Office has published the future skills-based immigration system white paper which sets out the Government’s plans to introduce a new single immigration system, ending free movement.
Information for Businesses on Data Protection – In the event of a no deal, UK businesses will need to ensure they continue to be compliant with data protection law. For UK businesses that operate only within the UK there will be no immediate change. For UK businesses that operate internationally or exchange personal data with partners in other countries there may be changes that need to be made ahead of the UK leaving the EU to ensure minimal risk of disruption. It is important for businesses to review whether they would be affected. For those that would be affected, early action is advised as changes may take some time to implement.
You can find further information on data protection in the context of a ‘No Deal’ in the Governments Technical Notice. A policy statement on these issues giving further detail has also been published recently. We recommend that all businesses read over these documents carefully and follow the guidance on these issues that has been published by the Information Commissioners Office. Detailed guidance on international transfers, including information on the US Privacy Shield has recently been published and can be found here. BEIS and DCMS officials are more than happy to meet with companies to discuss in more detail if helpful. Please let me know.
Business Readiness Tool – The Government has published a tool to help you find out what your business will need to do to prepare for the UK leaving the EU. It asks you to answer some simple questions which will then produce a list of Technical Notices which should be of interest to your company.
Industry Engagement Events – We are happy to come and speak at events (time permitting) or send material for them. We are working with trade associations to secure dates on which we will go through guidance in person and take questions from businesses. If you have any upcoming events where you would appreciate support from officials, please let us know.