While the EU-UK trade deal is welcome, many practical matters still need to be clarified, says David Gleeson.
After a prolonged period of uncertainty, news that agreement has been reached on an EU-UK trade deal will come as a relief for many businesses. The task now is to analyse the details and work out the practical implications for each sector.
At the time of writing, we know that the new procedures for goods going to, from or through the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) will lead to delays and create an administrative burden along with additional costs for many businesses. Coming on top of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, this will be challenging. While businesses are adept at coping with change, and most larger companies are already as prepared as they can be, many smaller entities—particularly those with limited resources—still have work to do. It is crucial that businesses act now so as to be able to continue to trade in the new environment. Various Government initiatives and Local Enterprise Office supports are available to help in this regard.
In periods of economic upheaval, it is an advantage to be able to think ‘outside the box’. Innovation, collaboration, diversification, expansion into new markets—all of these merit consideration. Potential market shifts and fluctuating exchange rates will have to be factored into plans while supply chains, operations, processes and costs will need to be kept under review. Focus on identifying opportunities and anticipating risks. When adapting processes, build in flexibility and resilience to enhance your capacity to respond quickly in an evolving environment.
Undoubtedly, it will take time for the new trading arrangements to bed down, however the fact that there is a deal, albeit a thin one, removes some uncertainty and will make it easier to plan ahead. Nevertheless, it will be important to monitor developments in the coming weeks as the practical implications for various sectors come into view.
Our team will continue to provide support as further details of the trade deal emerge. In the meantime, if you need information and/or assistance, please get in touch.