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How to plan for Brexit

How do you get your business ready for Brexit? Can you start preparing for Brexit now? Before the negotiations are completed? There continues to be a lot of conjecture about what the world will look like after Britain exits its Transition period. Commentators continue to say that things are not clear, that it is hard to know the impacts, the negotiations still have a long way to go, that there is much change that could happen.

Actually some things are very clear.

The UK has left the European Union. That’s clear. The UK will have a different trading relationship from the one it enjoys now. That’s clear. The best trade deal any country has achieved with the EU is the Canada Europe Trade Agreement (CETA). That’s clear. The fallback position will be operating on World Trade Organisation terms. That’s clear.

So actually – we can see what the options might be. We can start preparing with some level of certainty for the base case (WTO) with an eye to a greater level of free trade (CETA). We have enough to get started. So you can start planning. Actually you should start planning. Regardless of when the transition period ends, you need to have contingency and strategies developed for your business.

So where do you begin? Here are some key areas that you can look at now. Things you can analyse, research and prepare for now. So let’s get started.


How many are EU nationals? How many have applied for settled status? How many more EU nationals might you need to hire in the next months? What about their skills? Are there specific skills or qualifications your key colleagues need to have?


How might your contracts need to change? How many of your suppliers are based in the EU? How many of their suppliers are based in the EU? Do they need to come and visit you often? Do you travel to them frequently.


How often do you or your staff need to travel to customers or suppliers in the EU? How often do they come to you? Do you have short term contractors – or offer contracting services? Do you need to move equipment and samples for trade fairs and exhibitions?


Major changes to rules around the protection of personal data could be avoided if the UK is deemed to provide levels of protection that are adequate to comply with GDPR. However, this adequacy ruling has not yet been made. So you need to think about whether you have websites that gather personal information from EU citizens. You will have to think about your contractual arrangements for receiving data. You might have to plan to have a representative in the EU


If you are an exporter have you got an EORI number? Do you need to invest in specialist software to manage your export processes? Are you registered with the National Export System ? Is yours an eCommerce business? Have you worked through the countries you usually send goods to and what rules will apply after transition?


If yours is a service business do you know how the changes will affect the services you offer. The EU Single Market for Services works on the principle of “Home Country Logic.” That is each EU service company is considered as a local business in every EU country and can deliver its services freely. Once transition is over this will no longer apply to UK businesses. At that point services will be subject to all of the host country’s rules for things like employment, business regulation, insurance, sector specific compliance. And this will vary by country. If you don’t have any representation within the EU you could potentially have a different set of rules for each country you deliver your services to.


These are a few of the major areas to start thinking through. If you would like a complimentary “health check” on your preparedness or would like a structured set of questions to work through – you can take our readiness survey here

Original diagram: Trade Peers

There are, of course, a number of other considerations – Intellectual Property rights, contracts, VAT and taxation, property rights, consumer legislation, costs etc.

If you would like help planning or conducting your business readiness analysis please contact us here and we will be in touch to arrange time to discuss your needs more fully.