As the countdown to 1 January 2021 continues at pace, many business leaders are dealing with the day-to-day impact of the pandemic, but also have a nervous eye on the on-going Brexit negotiations and ever-changing advice. But with just over two months until the end of the transition phase, it is important that your preparations are well under way.
If your business imports from or sells in to the EU, our advice is to make sure you’re talking to your key customers and suppliers about any issues or challenges that they are concerned about. You may find that a customer is expecting you to have a physical base in Europe by the end of this year, in order for you to continue to trade with them, or a supplier who already has contingency plans in place to ensure that any disruption to your supply chain is as limited as possible.
Some businesses have already decided that having a base in an EU country is going to be a good way to ease the process of exporting by forming relationships in that jurisdiction and being able to process and submit customs documents without delay.
We work closely with a network of advisors across Europe and worldwide, who are best-placed to give advice and support to UK businesses in setting up overseas. If you have concerns or questions, then please do get in touch and we can recommend the best people for you to speak to.
Government advice and recommendations
With a government prone to changing its mind quickly, businesses need to be ready for whatever the deal / no deal situation presents – bearing in mind that any decisions or deals may be last-minute. What we do expect is that after the UK transition it’s very likely there will be restrictions on trade with the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and more preparation and documentation will be required.
Although much of the detail is still to be confirmed on exact processes and requirements, guidance is available and there are many preparations you can be doing now, ahead of the end of the transition:
- You will need an EORI number that starts with GB to move your goods in or out of the EU, you can apply for this here
- Check if your employees need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
- You may need a licence to employ workers from the EU
- If you’re travelling to EU (for business or leisure) you will need at least six months left on your UK passport and it needs to be less than 10 years old
The government has produced a useful online resource which provides its latest Brexit advice and recommendations based on your individual and business circumstances and requirements. You will need to answer a few straightforward questions and will receive links to guidance and actions.
Dorset Chamber has an excellent Brexit support resource which provides up to date details of negotiations and advice for businesses. There’s also a series of webinars hosted in conjunction with British Chambers of Commerce, which are free to attend – the next one is on 11 November.
We understand that this is an uncertain time for business owners – we’re here to support you.