The question that we are often asked is “whether or not it is possible to do anything as we don’t know what the final agreement will look like?”
Unfortunately, this is untrue for the most part.
We do in fact know most of what will be required to trade, post-March 2019 and therefore the actions required between now and then.
- We do know for instance that import and export declarations are inevitable, with the accompanying requirement to provide Customs with the necessary classification, origin and other trade information.
- We do not know whether positive duty rates will apply, as we don’t know whether a new a Trade Agreement will be concluded. We do know however, that this is highly unlikely to be completed by March 2019.
- Even with a Trade agreement, we do know that this will not benefit every company trading with the UK due to restrictions on country of origin and potential sectoral restrictions. In addition, a Trade Agreement in itself leads to additional customs authorisations and procedures that companies will need to put in place to avail of preferential rates.
Most companies with a Brexit plan have therefore already started work on preparing for the required new trading arrangements.
At this point a typical time frame would break down as follows:
As can be seen from the above timeline there is a significant amount of work that will be required. The timetable does not allow for slippage, complications inevitably arising to cause delays, IT scheduling conflicts or other unforeseen issues.
Without a transition phase being agreed therefore, companies who have not started preparing could leave themselves at risk of incurring unnecessary costs and delays when trading with the UK. As we hear Michel Barnier, EU's Chief Brexit negotiator,say on a regular basis, “the clock is ticking”.
* Trusted Trader Status is formally known as Authorised Economic Operator Status (AEO). This authorisation will be detailed in our next newsletter.
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