On the 29th March 2019 the UK will officially leave the EU. This will be followed by a “transition” or “implementation” phase to the 31st December 2020 (based on the current timetable). Until then, the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce will be working hard to help members prepare for Brexit and to lobby stakeholders on their behalf.
Our full Business Brexit Toolkit sets out suggestions for how businesses can get “Brexit ready”, facts and stats on Brexit and the region’s relationship with the EU and our asks for stakeholders on both Brexit negotiations and the domestic policy changes that businesses need to thrive.
We do not know what the final EU-UK deal will be, but we do know what a “hard Brexit” or “no deal” scenario would look like. By understanding how a hard Brexit would affect your business, you will be in the best possible position to respond to whatever the final deal contains.
Seek to understand how the following would impact on the viability of your products in key markets, your business model and strategies:
An end to free movement of people (and therefore visa-free access to EEA workers)
Reverting to World Trade Organisation Rules (and associated tariffs)
An end to participation in the Customs Union (and therefore facing the EU’s Common External Tariffs, customs checks at borders, and other customs barriers)
Leaving the EU VAT area (and therefore paying VAT on products imported from the EU upfront and the knock on impact on cash flow)
An end to participation in the over 50 Free Trade Agreements negotiated by the EU (and therefore the preferential market access these provide)
Any further fluctuations in the value of the pound (and their impact on the cost of imports and exports)
The treatment of the UK as a “third country” by the EU in key areas such as:
Data Protection (relevant for companies processing or sharing personal data of EU citizens)
Company Law (relevant for companies trading with EU companies, with branches in the EU, with EU subsidiaries and undertaking activity with EU firms and investors such as mergers and acquisitions)
Civil Justice & Private International Law (relevant for companies involved in legal disputes with EU actors and activities currently regulated under EU law)
Rules of origin (relevant for companies exporting products to the EU, especially where those products are comprised of parts or ingredients from a number of countries)
The movement of goods through the EU (relevant for companies involved in freight or the transportation of goods to or through the EU)
The sale of certain types of goods in the EU (such as genetically modified food, biocides, pesticides, veterinary and medical products)
You may also wish to review your major domestic clients and suppliers and, where the information is available, the extent to which their plans may change due to Brexit. This includes their wider supply chains and how any key businesses therein may be impacted by Brexit.
Discuss the risks that you have identified with your senior leadership team and board.
Using your research you can identify the areas of Brexit that present a risk to your business. Based on what areas have become apparent you may wish to explore how you could reduce your businesses’ exposure to these risks or consider what your contingency plans would be if these risks come to pass. Areas to review could include:
Your recruitment strategy
The products you prioritise selling to particular markets
The markets you are prioritising expanding in
Your major suppliers
Your currency strategy or currency partner
Your staff development strategy, ensuring they have the skills to be Brexit ready
Your existing commercial agreements with organisations within the EU
Your templates for future contracts
Discuss the strategies and contingency plans you develop with your senior leadership team and board.
You may wish to use this tool to help you prepare in depth.
No business needs to battle through Brexit alone and while Brexit represents challenges it also brings opportunities. Make sure you are making the most of the support available to you.
Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber was the first in the country to set up a Brexit helpline to provide advice and support to businesses following the 2016 referendum result. It was also the first to establish a Brexit Core Group made up of local industry representatives to help ensure that the UK's departure from the European Union happens as smoothly as possible and that our businesses are equipped to take full advantage of new trading opportunities.