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9 ways you and your business can prepare for Brexit

29 Mar 2017

Union jack and European Union flag on a brick wall background

The IoD has produced the definitive report on British business and Brexit titled, Navigating Brexit Priorities for business, options for government. 

Read the report

Of course, not even UK government experts know exactly how Brexit will unfold or how it will affect UK business. However, that doesn’t mean you should sit and wait to see what happens.

Agility is likely to be the key to success, and the Navigating Brexit report advises members to be well prepared for any outcome from Britain’s exit. This includes…  

1. Brexit-proof your existing and/or future contracts

Make sure you revise your pricing mechanisms and anything dependent on unimpeded access of goods, services, capital and people between the UK and EU.

2. Plan for a worst-case scenario

Businesses involved in the EU goods trade should start exploring what extra paperwork will be required when dealing with the EU as a third country. It would be wise to prepare for a worst-case scenario by speaking to customs brokers and other firms who already buy and sell on WTO terms to get a clear idea of any potential increased trade costs should the UK government end up with this type of trade arrangement.

3. Engage with European business associations 

Engagement with European corporate and trade bodies across the EU is vital to ensure commercial and trade priorities are given equal footing to political considerations in the EU’s approach to negotiations. The IoD has already started some of this preparatory work.

4. Consider AEO authorisation

There is a strong incentive for UK-based goods traders who have not yet done so to apply for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) authorisation under HMRC’s ongoing roll-out of the EU’s Union Customs Code.

AEO status is an internationally recognised quality mark indicating that your role in the international supply chain is secure, and that your customs controls and procedures are efficient and compliant.

5. Do your homework

Examine the rules and requirements in each EU and/or EEA country to see which framework provides the most efficient, cost-effective route to setting up operations if you are in a sector that is likely to need regulatory or licensing approval.

6. Keep up to date

Stay on top of all EU regulation pertaining to your business, such as the General Data Protection Act due to come into effect in May 2018. Don’t assume that the Government will renege on its existing or upcoming EU commitments.

7. Look beyond Intrastat

There is a chance the UK and EU will agree to keep using Intrastat declarations, which collects data and produces statistics on the movement of goods between EU states. If not, we may see this replaced with import/export documents.

8. Start talking

Arrange talks with existing clients, suppliers and customers to assess what will be needed from both parties to ensure your trading relationship can carry on as before. Review all the EU-related components in your operations and work out what might need to change or require new regulatory or licensing approval.

9. Engage with the IoD

Get in touch with us to discuss your concerns – the more case studies we and the Government have, the better informed our approach to negotiations will be. Linking formal trade policy with real-world considerations will help formulate and guide negotiations.


In response to the Brexit EU referendum vote, we have created a hub where you can find the latest information, guidance and advice to support and inform you and ensure you are fully up to date. 

View the hub

Need help or advice? Take full advantage of our member only Brexit helpline by calling +44 (0)20 7451 3400.

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