Will my business still be able to take goods into the EU on a temporary basis? (e.g. for Trade + shows and demonstrations)
UK businesses that currently take goods into the EU on a temporary basis do not need permission unless they are controlled goods such as weapons. Provided that the EU and UK agree on the Withdrawal Agreement, this will continue to apply until the end of the transition period - 31st December 2020. The UK Government has said that they would like to establish a new UK-EU culture and education accord that allows for the temporary movement of goods for major events.
In this scenario, UK businesses will still be able to take goods into the EU on a temporary basis but they will most likely require an ATA Carnet. An ATA Carnet is an international customs document which allows the temporary importation of goods into countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system, without having to pay unnecessary taxes or duties. This document covers goods that are leaving the UK and returning within a twelve month period. It is important to note that each individual country will have its own rues about goods you can bring in.
Will by business still be able to transport goods across the EU?
Currently, UK businesses currently need to hold to hold a ‘Standard International Vehicle Operator License’ and a ‘Community License’ for transporting goods across the EU. A Community License allows UK haulage companies unlimited international journeys for ‘hire and reward (carrying other people’s goods in return for payment) for operations in the EU. Thus includes cross trade (between EU countries) and transit across the EU.
UK companies also have access to the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit scheme that provides a limited number of permits to the UK. These permits allows UK hauliers to carry goods through all of the countries in the EU.
It is also necessary that professional drivers hold a certificate of Professional Competence (CPC.) These qualifications are currently recognised across the EU which allows drivers to operate without requiring any additional requirements.
If the UK reaches a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, then your business will be able to continue transporting goods across the EU until the end of the implementation period in 2020. After the end of the implementation period, the UK Government has said that it wishes to maintain and develop existing levels of transport connectivity with the EU. However, this is still subject to negotiation.
The political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU proposes that the Parties should ensure comparable market access for freight and passenger road transport operators.
There is no guarantee that the EU would automatically recognise UK businesses that were issues Community License in the UK. This could result in UK hauliers losing their automatic access to EU markets. This would depend on whether individual EU countries recognise UK issues operators on the notion that they are based on the same standards as EU issued licenses. If the fail to recognise them then UK firms would still be able to use ECMT permits, although these are limited in number and would be subject to criteria. If this were to happen, the Government has said that it would attempt to negotiate new bilateral arrangements with EU countries to provide haulage access. This may require permits when entering the EU Country concerned.
In a no deal scenario, the European Commission have announced that they have adopted a proposal to allow UK operators to temporarily carry goods into the EU. This will last for nine months and is provisional on the UK conferring equivalent rights to EU road haulage operators.
The UK Government has also confirmed that UK drivers will be able to continue driving in the EU after we have left, but they may be required to carry an International Driving Permit. It is important to note that automatic recognition of professional drivers who have UK issued CPCs will cease if the UK leaves without an agreement. It would then be up to individual EU countries as to whether they choose to continue recognising UK issued CPCs. The UK Government has said it will continue to recognise EU issued CPCs and has said that it will not immediately change any of the standards drivers have to meet.
Click here for more information on Commercial Road Haulage in the EU if there’s no Brexit deal.
Will there be any changes to charges for credit card transactions between the UK and EU?
It is not year clear as to whether there will be any charges for credit card transactions between the UK and EU. This is still subject to negotiation between the UK and the EU. If both sides are able to reach an agreement then there will be no charges introduced until the end of the implementation period (December 2020) at the earliest.
The draft Political Declaration (released November 2018) indicated the UK and EU’s intention to agree ‘Provisions to enable free movement of capital and payments related to transactions liberalised under the economic partnership, subject to relevant exceptions’.
The Government has confirmed in the series of no deal technical papers released that UK based payment service providers would lose direct access to the EU central payments infrastructure. The Government say that this is likely to lead to an increase in the cost of card payments between the EU and the UK. In a no-deal scenario, the recently introduced surcharging ban will no longer apply which means that businesses may be able to charge consumers for using a specific payment method should they wish to do so.
Click here for more information on banking and financial services if there’s no Brexit deal.
How will Brexit affect exchange rates?
Since the EU referendum in 2016, political uncertainty has had an impact on the strength of the pound which has continued to fluctuate in value. The fall in the value of the pound tends to benefit British exporters whose goods and services become cheaper and more competitive on the international market. Whereas UK businesses who import tend to be adversely affected as the costs of their imports will increase. While no one can predict with any certainty the extent to which Brexit will affect exchange rates, it is highly likely that key events in the negotiations will continue to have an impact causing fluctuations in the currency, including rises in the value of the pound once we have more clarity on the final agreement. It is important that your business factors in the volatility of sterling when making your Brexit preparations and may wish to consider working with a currency partner to manage this risk.
What are Trusted Trader Schemes/Authorised Economic Operator Status?
Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) is a special status given to a company who confirms that a company’s customs controls and procedures are efficient and complaint. AEO status provides an organisation with quicker access to certain simplified customs procedures. It may also result in their shipments being fast-tracked through certain customs and safety and security procedures. Once a business achieves AEO status in one EU member state, that status is recognised by other custom authorities across the EU. There are two types of AEO that a company can apply for: The first type is AEO status for customs simplification (AEOC) and the second one is AEO status for security and safety (AOES) purposes, if their supply chain, record keeping, legal compliance and solvency meets certain standards.
In order to qualify for AEOC status, your business must fulfil the criteria of having: good tax and customs compliance history, good commercial and transport record keeping standards, financial solvency, and professional qualifications or demonstrating practical standards of competence in the activity they are involved in. To be eligible for AEO Status you must not only fulfil the above criteria (excluding professional qualifications and practical standards of competence), but also appropriate security and safety standards including: physical integrity and access controls, logistical processes and personnel and identification of business partners.
For more information on AEO status and how to apply for it click here.
To look at the International Trade training courses we provide at Northamptonshire Chamber then click here or call the International Trade team on 01604 490 490.