Brexit Update - 19th November 2020

Wake Smith chairman John Baddeley looks at the latest Brexit news…

With the time-frame for Britain's withdrawal from the European Union rapidly diminishing, the one certainty for businesses is that there is no certainty.

Indeed, we are arguably no closer to a trade deal with the EU now, than we were during the early days of the negotiations - with state-aid and access to UK fishing waters forming two, seemingly impossible barriers to an agreement.

Boris Johnson's Brexit team have to balance out the delicate complexity of potentially conceding on fishing rights and state-aid, with the former of these being particularly important to pro Brexit MP's who see Britain regaining its territorial fishing waters as a non-negotiable item.

For the EU, which is openly concerned about Britain's potential to become a free-trading competitor, it risks losing more than £300 billion of trade with the UK and its current monopoly on fishing rights within UK waters, if a deal cannot be reached.

For many businesses, this is all simply being viewed as out of their control and they are, rather alarmingly, waiting to see how it all pans out.

Other businesses have taken much bolder steps and despite working on strategies which may eventually become redundant in the event of an eleventh hour agreement, they have assumed that no deal will be the outcome and have positioned and prepared their operations accordingly.

It is increasingly clear to us, that businesses need to make the best use of the time left to ensure that they are legally and operationally aligned with the UK leaving the EU without a deal and potentially defaulting to WTO trading terms.

There is a wealth of information on the HM Government website on what businesses need to change to suit a post-Brexit world and legal experts can guide you through the complexities of becoming compliant with changes in legislation.

UK imports and exports will still continue, albeit in a different format and it pays well to recall that the UK managed to operate with strong international trade links before we took on membership of the EU and joined the common market.

Whether these talks amount to a deal or not, should not be the immediate concern for business owners – preparing for the reality of change is what is important.

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