Business West responds to the government’s ‘time is running out’ campaign and advises firms how to best prepare

Author
Zoe Bagnall
Content and PR Executive | Business West
19th October 2020

This week the government is urging business leaders to get ready for an ‘Australia-style’ exit from the EU with the launch of their ‘time is running out’ campaign. While there are still significant questions unanswered for businesses, Business West outlines what firms can do now to best prepare while uncertainty remains. 

In a call with business leaders this week, the Prime Minister and Michael Gove will discuss preparations for the end of the transition period and urge businesses to get ready for the changes January 2021 will bring. This comes as the government has launched its latest public information campaign which aims to emphasise the urgency of business preparedness with the strapline, ‘time is running out.’ 

The campaign is being launched following direction from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the UK must prepare to leave the EU on the simple principles of global free trade after discussions with the European Council last week. 

While there are still many unanswered questions for businesses, for example whether preferential trade agreements will continue and which rules of origin will apply after the transition, there are ways in which businesses can prepare for the end of the transition period. 

From 1 January 2021, businesses will need a customs declaration even when trading with the EU. Business West will be delivering training for companies to highlight what firms need to know to complete them correctly. Companies can also register their interest for the ChamberCustoms service, which will take the hassle away from importers and exporters and ensure that customs clearance is accurate, timely and avoids costs through delays or errors.

From 1 January 2021 businesses will need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods to or from the UK. Most businesses should have now received this, but if they haven’t there is a wealth of information on the HMRC website to help businesses retrieve this. 

Businesses will need to consider whether they need to register for VAT for the countries they want to trade with and be aware of how other legislation may change. We can give businesses information on the types of documents available, how they’re used and where to get them, but businesses must check what they need with their importing agent or customer.

Business West will be sending regular updates to companies as the discussions continue and by signing up to the Trading Through Brexit hub, companies can expect to stay up to date on developments. 

Commenting on the launch of the government’s ‘time is running out campaign,’ James Monk, Director of Commercial Services at Business West said:

“Businesses in the South West and beyond are facing a myriad of challenges including the threat of a second wave of Coronavirus and a lack of clarity about the rules which will apply at the end of the transition period.

“It is not surprising in these extraordinary circumstances that businesses are struggling to prepare.

“While firms will be stepping up preparations, many are still facing unanswered questions that are making it hard to plan sufficiently for the end of the transition period.

“A deal between the UK and EU would give companies more security and clarity over the changes in the coming months and this is still possible, but no matter what happens, we will support firms to negotiate the changes coming at the start of next year.”

To help firms cope with the changes and trade through Brexit and beyond, companies can visit Business West’s Trading Through Brexit hub which addresses some of the biggest issues most likely to affect businesses. 

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