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Get ready for Brexit: Trade Fairs

How should trade fair, conference and exhibitions organisers get ready for Brexit? What are the specific considerations around their industry sector?

Brexit legislative and regulatory changes will have different implications for different industry sectors. In these top line analyses we look at different industries to gauge where the major impacts might be felt.

Four23 has done a lot of work with some of the largest international trade fairs over the years. We thought, to start this series of analyses, we would look at the impacts that Brexit changes will have on this multi-billion euro industry. A lot of this depends on the ongoing negotiations but there are certain areas you need to prepare now.

Moving people, samples, stands…will all be different after the Brexit transition period is over. Get ready now.

If you are a UK business participating in a trade show in the EU here are some areas to think about:


  • If the rules on free movement change (as is expected) you might face local immigration and employment rules.
  • These rules might be different country-by-country
  • They will affect your permanent staff an the many freelancers and contractors who work in the industry
  • For EU companies exhibiting in the UK there will be similar changes to adapt to. In addition, EU employees coming to staff a trade fair will subject to a points based immigration system to be able to enter the UK (even for a temporary period)


  • All your samples and finished products will be subject to customs procedures
  • You may well have to pay tariffs for shipping your samples and finished products
  • Certain goods (e.g. leather goods and others made of animal by-products) may be subject to especially strict border checks
  • The kit you ship for your exhibition stand (stands, screens, pop-ups, cabling, wifi points, carpeting) could be subject to customs checks and tariffs both going into and out of the country you will be exhibiting in. Basically you will have to import them in and export them out each time


  • As a non EU business your activity might be subject to higher insurance and liability requirements
  • Courier costs are likely to change as the UK is outside the EU


  • Data Protection Legislation: this is still pending an adequacy decision from the EU Commission – but if you are collecting customer contact details at a trade fair in the EU you may need to have a data representative resident in the EU

So there’s lots to think about. If you would like help in understanding how best to plan – you can take our simple Business Continuity Survey. It takes five minutes to complete and we’ll send you a set of recommendations specific to your business and sector.