Concerned about how Brexit may impact your business? Fox Williams offer some words of wisdom…
“Some brands, distributors, and retailers are expressing concern about what may happen in the event of a so-called hard Brexit. However, it is important to bear in mind that:
Firstly, it is not a case of “If we can’t agree the terms of a free trade deal, a hard Brexit will follow in March 2019.”
This is because what is being negotiated at present are the terms of a withdrawal treaty (that is, the terms on which the UK will withdraw from the EU). Whilst it is the case that the treaty is intended to contain the principles of a subsequent trade agreement, the withdrawal treaty is not a trade deal.
Further, there is no certainty whatsoever that what may eventually emerge will be a “free trade” deal. Whilst a free trade deal is to be hoped for, we could see customs duties on various ranges of goods.
In addition the Article 50 withdrawal notice, which the UK gave to the EU expires at 11 pm on 29 March 2019. The next working day is Monday 1 April (no April Fool intended!)
Second, it is not a case of “If there is no deal, goods will simply not get into the UK. At some point, the World Trade Organisation would intervene and goods may trickle through with tariffs applied.”
Whilst it is very likely that there will be disruption at ports in the event of a failure to agree a withdrawal treaty, goods will enter the UK. But a different, and more concerning, point is whether retailers will find them easy to sell when customs duties are added!
Further, the role of the WTO is not to operate as a global roadside recovery service akin to the AA.
Overall brands, distributors, and retailers are right to give thought to the issues that will accompany a failure to agree a withdrawal treaty. Further it is the case that some brands, distributors and retailers are making plans. However, in the experience of Fox Williams they represent a minority of British businesses and, as a result, we have produced the following guides for business:
- Brexit and your existing business contracts: what should you consider now? http://ow.ly/k7TZ30lxe9M
- Brexit and your future business contracts: what should you consider now? http://ow.ly/rxPM30lxea0
- Brexit and the financial implications for your business contracts: what should you consider now? http://ow.ly/RH5830lxeal
- Brexit and your business operational issues: what should you consider now? http://ow.ly/gi3d30lxeaJ
- Immigration: What’s new for EU nationals – an update on Brexit http://ow.ly/jrnr30lxe9v“