Most companies had closed when the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement was finally announced on Christmas Eve. It creates the biggest shake-up to the UK’s trading relationships since 1973. As the BBC’s Economics Editor reported:
“It is the biggest imposition of red tape in 50 years“….Johnson’s “manifest error in declaring there are “no non-tariff barriers” for trade with the EU had business leaders falling off their chairs. This is patently not the case.” Some of the key changes include:
- Customs Declarations will be needed for all GB-EU movements, including GB to N Ireland as the UK leaves the EU Customs Union:
- Rules of Origin will require companies to provide full details of their supply chain, in order to claim tariff exemption for their exports
- Sanitary & Phytosanitary rules start to protect consumers and plant life – requiring 100% checks on live animals, for example
- N Ireland rules create a new border down the Irish Sea, as it stays in the EU Single Market whilst Great Britain leaves
- The UK’s vital services sector (~80% of GDP) is hardly mentioned in the Agreement, with the EU still to decide on “equivalence”
- UK qualifications will no longer be recognised in the EU, affecting a wide range of jobs from hairdressers to accountants and lawyers
- Visa rules will change, with work visas required for many EU business trips by UK citizens – including musicians and fashion models
- UK border controls are clearly not ready for Brexit as the pre-Christmas crisis highlighted, although EU borders are more prepared
These changes will be a major, and expensive, shock for anyone who doesn’t remember what doing business across Europe used to be like. Moving product from Birmingham to Berlin will no longer be as easy as moving it to Bristol.
Join us now, and take advantage of our expertise and research. We can help you save days, possibly weeks, in understanding the key areas of risk for your business.