Brexit Checklist 10: EU Trade Agreements with third countries

Date: 26/09/2018
Author: Pauline Puig
Company: GMCC

In order to help businesses to consider the changes that might happen following Brexit, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have developed a Business Brexit Checklist. This checklist aims to help companies at both operational and board levels.

Although the European Union and the UK have not yet reached a final agreement, there are a few steps that companies can already start undertaking to plan ahead.

Over the coming weeks we will be focusing on things to look out for to get your business ready for Brexit.

Number 10:  EU Trade Agreements with third countries

At this point, only six months away from the official date of Brexit, we are still unaware of what the relationship with the European Union will look like. But what exporters and importers also need to understand is that the outcome of the negotiations will also have an impact on our relationship with third countries where, currently, UK businesses benefit from Trade Agreements.

Although the UK government has indicated its intention to try and secure existing EU agreements with other countries, businesses may need to consider a scenario where the terms were to change, and preferential rates are no longer available. According to the BBC, 57% of UK exports and 66% of our imports currently take place within the EU or with countries we have a trade agreement with as part of the EU, so this would have a significant impact on trade.

So, how can you prepare for this? We commend considering the below:

  • Do you import or export using lower duty rates provided by EU’s existing trade agreements?
  • If yes, do you know how changes to, or termination of, these rates can impact you? Try and find out what the duty for third countries in the specific markets are. One of our partners has a very useful Brexit toolkit to help you look at what your duty rate would become. If you are interested in having the link, please let us know.
  • Which markets are particularly critical for you? Will they be affected?

As an additional help, the government has recently published a collection of article and tips on how to prepare if the UK leaves the European Union with no deal. You can see the selection here.

If you have any questions about the above, please email Pauline Puig at pauline.puig@gmchamber.co.uk.  

We are running a Brexit Business Clinic on 12th October to help companies get Brexit ready! Come and meet with our expert on a 1-2-1 for 30 minutes to discuss your business’ concerns. See here for more details.