Firms buying from Europe should “take account of the volume of their trade with the EU and any potential supply chain impacts” in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK government has warned.
In official Whitehall guidance it is suggested firms should “understand what the likely changes to customs and excise procedures will be to their businesses” and “consider the impact on their role in supply chains with EU partners”.
The government said a no-deal scenario would mean UK trade with the EU would be non-preferential WTO terms, including tariffs.
“Businesses should consider how a no-deal scenario could affect them, and may want to begin taking steps to mitigate against such a risk, however unlikely,” said the technical notice.
“If necessary, put steps in place to renegotiate commercial terms to reflect any changes in customs and excise procedures, and any new tariffs that may apply to UK-EU trade.”
The notice said in the event of no deal, firms will have to treat goods from the EU in the same way as goods from the rest of world currently are. This would mean that in order to import goods from the EU businesses would have to:
• Register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
• Ensure contracts and International Terms and Conditions of Service reflect they are now an importer
• Consider how they will submit import declarations
• Decide the correct classification and value of their goods and enter this on the customs declaration
When importing goods from the EU a business will need to:
• Have a valid EORI number
• Ensure their carrier has submitted an Entry Summary Declaration
• Submit an import declaration to HMRC
• Pay VAT and import duties
• Apply for an import licence or provide supporting documentation for specific types of goods
The notice said firms should “consider how they will submit customs declarations for EU trade in a no-deal scenario, including whether they should engage the services of a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider to help, or alternatively secure the appropriate software and authorisations”.
The government has released 25 technical notices covering areas including farming and medicines, and more are planned in coming weeks.
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said he was “confident that a good deal is within our sights” but “we must be ready” for no deal.
“We have a duty, as a responsible government, to plan for every eventuality,” he said.
“And to do this, we need to have a sensible, responsible and realistic conversation about what a no-deal situation really means in practice.
“For citizens, for businesses, for public sector bodies and for NGOs, and we need to take some steps now, so that we can avoid and mitigate those risks that arise.”
Alex Saric, chief marketing officer at Ivalua, said: “No deal will involve new regulations, new registrations and new processes, meaning organisations must begin assessing their suppliers and supply chain to establish how this affects their operations and develop contingency plans.
“They need to understand where bottlenecks will appear, what new tariffs will be applied and the implications on margins and what new customs checks will impact the supply chain. These questions need to be asked today because the landscape will quite literally change overnight, meaning last minute preparation is ill advised.”
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