Business West reacts to the government’s ‘time is running out’ campaign

By Anita Jaynes on 28 October, 2020

As the government urges business leaders to get ready for an ‘Australia-style’ exit from the EU with the launch of its ‘time is running out’ campaign, Business West has outlined what firms can do to best prepare while uncertainty remains.

In a recent call with business leaders, the Prime Minister and Michael Gove discussed preparations for the end of the transition period and urged businesses to get ready for the changes January 2021 will bring.

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.

Business West – a not-for-profit company which offers business support to start-up and growing businesses in the West of England – will be sending regular updates to companies as the discussions continue. By signing up to the Trading Through Brexit hub, companies can expect to stay up to date on developments.

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 also 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.

Furthermore, 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. Business West can provide 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.

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, companies can visit Business West’s Trading Through Brexit hub which addresses some of the biggest issues most likely to affect businesses.

Pictured above: James Monk, Commerical Director of Business West