EC Publishes Seven Points That Businesses Must Consider To Prepare For Brexit

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In a bid to help businesses in the EU make the necessary changes and get ready for Brexit, the European Commission has published a factsheet detailing how businesses in the EU27 can prepare for Britain exiting the Union. Anna Tobin reports

Seven Things Businesses in the EU27 Need to Know in Order to Prepare for Brexit is the title of the European Commission’s factsheet and it recommends the following:

Be Prepared for 30 March 2019

In the eventuality that there won’t be a withdrawal agreement or an agreed transition period, in what is termed the ‘No Deal’ scenario, all businesses impacted by Brexit should, it states, ‘prepare, make all necessary decisions, and complete all required administrative actions, before 30 March 2019 in order to avoid disruption.’

Assess Your Supply Chain Requirements

Businesses that import or export goods from the UK  should assess how their responsibilities could change under EU law now. It gives as an example: ‘Post-Brexit, if EU27 businesses that buy goods from the UK are considered as importers for the purposes of EU product legislation, they will have another set of obligations under EU law.’

Transfer or Obtain the Necessary Certificates, Licenses and Authorisations

Certificates, licenses or authorisations issued by UK authorities, bodies based in the UK or held by someone established in the UK may no longer be valid in the EU post-Brexit. It advises businesses to check to see if they need to transfer or seek new ones issued by an EU27-based body or authority and to take the necessary steps to do so. It states: ‘This is the case, in particular, for certificates, licenses and authorisations issued for goods (for example in the automotive sector, or the medical devices sector) and for services (for instance in the transport, broadcasting, or the financial sector).’

Get Ready to Change Customs, VAT and Excise Procedures

Once the UK leaves the EU doing business with the UK could become more complex in terms of customs and VAT procedures. It states: ‘If you trade with companies in the UK, you should get acquainted with the EU procedures and rules that will apply post-Brexit, in particular, if you have so far had little or no experience in trading with third countries.’

UK Products May No Longer Count as EU Content Under Rules of Origin

Post-Brexit, EU businesses may no longer be able to count on UK input to any finished product being considered EU content. It states: ‘You should, therefore, examine your supply chains and start treating any UK input as non-originating, in order to ensure EU preferential origin for your goods.’

Certain UK Traded Goods Could Become Prohibited or Restricted

In the interests of health and safety and the environment, EU rules restrict the import and export of certain goods to and from third countries, which in the event of a ‘No Deal’ outcome, the UK would become. In this eventuality post-Brexit, goods destined to or coming from the UK will be subject to these EU rules. Products affected include: live animals, products of animal origin and some plants and plant products, such as wood packaging.  Affected businesses it states:  ‘should take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the EU’s import/export prohibitions and restrictions.’

Transfer of Personal Data Between the UK and the EU May No Longer Flow Freely

Personal data can currently flow freely between EU Member States. Post-Brexit  it will still be possible to transfer personal data from the EU to the UK, but it may be subject to specific conditions set in EU law. It states: ‘Companies that are currently transmitting personal data to the UK should be aware that this will become a transfer of personal data to a third country. If the UK’s level of personal data protection is essentially equivalent to that of the EU, and certain conditions are fulfilled, the European Commission may adopt an adequacy decision which allows for the transfer of personal data to the UK without restrictions. However, companies should assess whether, in the absence of an adequacy decision, measures are necessary to ensure that these transfers remain possible.’

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