How can businesses prepare for Brexit who currently trade just in the EEC

Although there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we know that the way we trade internationally is set to change dramatically. UK businesses need to prepare.

1. Get an EORI number
If your company is new to international trade, you will need to apply to HMRC for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. HMRC are likely to be deluged so applications should be submitted as soon as possible.

2. Keep abreast of changes to customs legislation
You need to stay informed about any regulatory changes and find out how they affect you. Currently, little has been decided but when things do start moving you’ll need to be on the ball. Keep a dialogue going with customs experts to ensure you’re doing everything required to remain compliant.

3. Map and audit your supply chain
Establish whether your suppliers have the ability to honour your existing contracts. You may be putting your house in order but if your supply chain aren’t doing the same you could face major headaches as a result of increased lead times.

4. Ensure you have funds in place
Sufficient finance needs to be available to cover eventualities. A duty management solution, or an upgrade to your existing software, will be necessary. Consider placing additional insurance to cover potential delays at borders. You may find you need to increase warehouse capacity or even relocate entirely.

5. Consider becoming an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)
Think about applying for AEO accreditation. It is an internationally recognised mark of excellence and means HMRC regard you as a trusted trader. AEO certified businesses enjoy reduced deferment guarantee levels and faster clearance at the border, potentially vital post-Brexit.