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So what would a no-deal Brexit really mean? The UK would operate and trade independently globally falling back on the safety net of international agreements - such as the agreements of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for trade. The UK would in the eyes of the EU assume what’s commonly known as “third country” status.

So then, how would a no-deal Brexit impact the UK’s manufacturers?

Immediately is the short answer, because:

  • there would instantly need to be a physical border between the EU (including Ireland) and the UK and goods would no longer circulate freely between the two blocs
  • tariffs (that is taxes) would apply to EU goods coming into the UK and UK goods arriving at the EU border
  • customs processes would cut in, in the form of paperwork (import and export declarations) and physical inspection of goods adding delays and cutting capacity at ports. 
  • UK Manufactures would need to prove the economic origin of their products through complex processes called rules of origin.
  • UK Manufacturers would face rules requiring them to prove their products met EU standards known as conformity assessment procedures. UK goods placed on the market post-Brexit, couldn’t be approved by UK test houses and face the extra costs of EU approval.

What then should UK manufacturers be doing now to prepare for a no-deal, deal?  

  • Assessing their tariff exposure (identify tariff codes and tariff duties)
  • Registering for UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers in order to import and export
  • Ensuring contracts and International Terms and Conditions of Service (INCOTERMS) reflect that they are now an importer/exporter 
  • considering how to submit import and export declarations whether to pay a customs broker, to do this for them, or how they can acquire the appropriate software to request the necessary authorisations from HMRC themselves).

How can EEF help? 

With so much to do, to plan for a no-deal, EEF has created a bespoke hub for manufacturers, packed with advice and resources created for its members, please read our summaries on the technical notices issued by Government in the past two months. The hub is backed up by a new Brexit toolkit which de-scrambles trade and customs rules, which you can find out more about by clicking here.

And finally, our not to be missed National Manufacturing Conference 2019 will feature a cutting edge topical trade workshop with details available here.

Blog / Leaving the EU