Find out how the possible outcomes affect you
As of now there are two possible outcomes when we talked about Brexit. One is a transitional period where the withdrawal extends over a longer period of time. The other one is a hard Brexit, where there is no deal with a direct withdrawal without any agreement between the EU and the UK.
Both outcomes will affect your business if you have relations with the UK and it is therefore in your best interest to be as prepared as you can.
What you need to know
Brexit was originally due to happen on 29 March 2019.That was two years after the Article 50 was triggered – the formal process to leave the EU, which was rejected twice. Since then there has been quite a few hick ups where the EU and the UK have tried to find an agreement covering topics like what the UK will owe the EU for unfinished projects started together and what the future will look like for EU members living in the UK. The EU has now agreed to a further extension until 31 January and the UK's response to this agreement with most likely be either a soft or a hard brexit.
We will experience either a soft or a hard Brexit
If the EU and the UK manage to close an agreement by the 31 January we will experience a soft Brexit. A soft Brexit refers to a scenario where the UK leaves the UN under a longer period of time (up to two years) where we all get the chance to become familiar with the new laws and regulations. A soft Brexit also refers to the UK staying either within the EU’s Single Market by becoming a member of the European Economic Area (like Norway), or in the European Customs Union, or both. This is of course an outcome we are hoping for. But so far we still have to be prepared for the opposite – a hard Brexit, also called a "no deal". This means the UK would leave not only the EU but also the EU’s Single Market and the EU Customs Union (both of which non-EU countries are also members). The UK would instead aim to secure a free trade deal with the EU, ideally covering both goods and services. This deal could take years to close and until then companies and people would have to adjust to the new laws and regulations straight away, treating the UK as a non EU member. This is why it is crucial that you are prepared for a hard Brexit.
This is what you need to do now:
- Simple processes might get a bit more tricky. Prepare for extra costs due to this.
- Make sure you don't have goods that require a permit when importing or exporting from the EU. If you do - get the permits now.
- Be prepared for higher customs tariffs.
- Contact your suppliers. Are they prepared for Brexit? do they have a plan B if there will be a hard Brexit?