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Brexit - Regulations and Licensing

View profile for Matt Rowley
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Brexit - Regulations and Licensing

The possibility of a ‘No Deal Brexit’ still looms which would clearly impact those directly importing from or exporting to the EU. However, any business that relies on a supply chain involving the EU in some way should consider and assess the ability of its suppliers and customers to meet the challenges of the potential changes to the regulatory regime.

A key customer that lowers its orders because it hasn’t been able to ship its own stock to the EU is as much of a risk to business as a supplier who can’t deliver because its goods are stuck at a European dock! There is nothing wrong with asking your customers and suppliers what their preparations are for a ‘No Deal Brexit’.

The general consensus of opinion appears to be that general standards of production, marketing and health and safety are unlikely to change much. This is a reflection of the fact that the UK has always been at the forefront of developing those standards in the EU.

However, what is going to change and is likely to cause issues with importing and exporting goods in particular, is the bureaucracy and paperwork that surrounds such standards.

For example, assessment against the ‘Harmonized Standards’ of manufacturing by a UK notified body may no longer be acceptable for a business to export goods to the EU and an assessment by an EU notified body may be required instead. The standard won’t change (at least, not in the immediate short term) but you need someone else to confirm that you meet the same standards.

There will be similar challenges in relation to haulage operator’s licenses and driving licenses and an enormous number of other industry specific regulations.

The problem facing many businesses in the lead up to Brexit on 29 March 2019 is not knowing what pieces of paper they will need from the EU in enough time to adjust.

The key, while the uncertainty remains, is to identify which areas you can deal with now at little cost and which you may need to scramble for when the time comes. International Driving Licenses for haulage drivers is an example. You can apply now for a 1949 Geneva Convention International Driving Permit which will ensure a driver’s ability to drive in Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus, irrespective of what happens on 29 March 2019. However, you can only apply for a 1968 International Driving Permit (which covers the other EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland) from 1 February 2019. You will need both if driving, for example, from the UK into France and on to Spain.

So, on 1 February 2019, you know that there is going to be a queue at the Post Office for International Driving Permits.

Make sure you know which bits of paper you need and when you can get them if there is no deal!