EU Calls on Companies to Prepare for Brexit

Last week the EU Commission published a Communication on preparing for the UK’s departure from the EU. The document calls on all EU stakeholders, including businesses to step up preparations for all potential Brexit outcomes, including no-deal.

While the document reiterates the EU’s commitment to securing a deal with the UK, it notes that “even if an agreement is reached, the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union will no longer be one of a Member State and thus, will be in a fundamentally different situation”. It further calls on businesses and professionals to assess the impact a cliff-edge Brexit would have on their operation, identify what steps need to be taken in response, and to conclude all actions by 29 March 2019.

Some examples of Brexit Preparedness measures that companies should be taking include:

  • Familiarise your business with the customs, VAT and excise procedures and controls that are in place for trade between the EU and third countries.
  • If your business is part of a broader supply chain linked with the UK, you should assess what legal responsibilities this places on you; this will differ depending on where your business is in the supply chain.
  • Businesses should also identify the level of UK content or input in their goods to assess whether this will have implications on the rules of origins classification of your export.
  • If your business relies on authorisations or certificates issued by UK authorities, it may be prudent to apply for authorisations and certificates in an EU27 State instead for those products to be sold on the EU Market.
  • Professionals might wish to request recognition of UK qualifications in an EU27 State.
  • Assess what personal data your business transfers to the UK currently and what measures will be necessary to ensure these transfers remain possible after Brexit.
  • Understanding the strict SPS rules that the EU applies to trade of animals, plants and their products and the relevant certification and control requirements that will be placed on this trade.
  • Operators in the Financial Services sector should have procedures in place should the UK lose its passporting rights and be subject to current third country regulatory regimes.
  • Transport businesses should carefully assess whether the change of status of the United Kingdom from a Member State to a third country impacts their operations, and should take the necessary preparedness measures.

The Communication also outlines the internal work that has been undertaken by the Commission in preparation for Brexit. It highlights the relocation of EU Agencies, review of the EU acquis and the publications of 68 technical notes on specific legal and regulatory issues that may arise from Brexit and the practical implications that these may have for concerned stakeholders as steps already taken. Of particular interest to members will be the technical notes, which cover a variety of sectors including health and food safety, transport, financial stability and financial services, environment, internal market, customs, civil justice, company law and professional qualifications and are often accompanied by Questions and Answers.

Although the above is targeted at EU based firms, similar measures will need to be taken by UK businesses that trade with the EU. The Chamber therefore, encourages all members to engage with notices relating to their own sectors and to take the necessary steps now to ensure they are prepared for all eventualities that might arise as the UK leaves the European Union.

To read the full Communication click here.

To read the summary factsheet click here.

To view the full list of technical notices click here.

To access the British Irish Chamber’s Toolkit of initial steps to take click here.

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