17 Sep 2018
Last Thursday the UK Government published their latest round of ‘no deal’ Brexit planning documents, detailing what firms and individuals will have to do if the UK leaves the EU without making a deal.
Commenting on the publication of the second tranche of documents, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The latest batch of technical notices published by the government gives more clarity on some specific business issues, but many key questions remain unanswered. Firms still need greater precision from the government in order to be able to plan ahead with confidence.
“In the unwelcome event of a ‘no deal’, businesses need clear and comprehensive communication about how they will be affected, and the government should be taking every possible step to minimise the disruption, bureaucracy and costs facing firms in the future.
“Businesses now face the frustration of yet another wait for further answers. Many companies tell us they are deeply concerned by the impression that key information they need in order to prepare for change is being held back due to political sensitivities as the party conference season commences. Speed, precision and clarity are of the essence so that businesses can prepare for change.”
Commenting on product standards regulation, Anastassia Beliakova, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said:
“It is worrying to see that in the event of ‘no deal’, the Government plans to introduce new UK-specific conformity marking – requiring business to operate under two sets of conformity assessment regimes if they are trading in the UK as well as in the EU. This has been one of the less discussed areas in the Brexit debate, but one which will, under this scenario, result in significant new administrative burdens for business.”
Commenting on mobile roaming, she added:
“UK citizens are used to being able to access mobile data in the EU without facing roaming charges. In the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, UK mobile operators would not be bound by EU regulations on roaming charges – and could therefore choose to introduce new costs for consumers. We hope and urge mobile operators not to do so and to provide strong reassurances on this point as soon as possible.”
Commenting on driving licences, Beliakova said:
“Whilst it would of course be a source of frustration that UK driving licenses would no longer be valid in the EU in case of a ‘no deal’ scenario, the Government’s notice provides some clear steps for what should be done in order to continue being allowed to drive in the EU.”
Commenting on travel of UK citizens to the EU, Beliakova said:
“It is useful to have clearly stated guidance that for the Schengen area, UK passports should not be older than 9 years and 6 months. Many businesses, however, will be waiting to see what the negotiations deliver on business travel arrangements – and most importantly, on the crucial issue of whether U.K. businesspeople will need visas to conduct their affairs with customers and suppliers in the EU.”
Commenting on data protection, she said:
“It is reassuring to have the confirmation that transfers of data from the UK to the EU would go ahead unimpeded in the event of ‘no deal’, as provided for by the UK’s unilateral decision – but many businesses will be worried about whether the EU would reciprocate in kind. Until then, the future of data transfers from the EU to the UK is uncertain, and firms will be worried about UK-EU data flows being a one-way street.”
Commenting on handling civil legal cases, Beliakova added:
“Businesses will be concerned to learn that in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, there will be no agreed framework in place for civil judicial cooperation between the UK and EU. The current frameworks underpin trade and are necessary for the enforcement of contracts: simply advising businesses to seek legal advice in the event of a cross-border dispute does little to advance our understanding.”