MPs in the House of Commons voted 312 to 308 in a non-binding vote on 13th of March and rejected leaving the EU with a No Deal Brexit. However, there is still no solution, no one is any clearer what will happen with just over 2 weeks to go till the date set for the UK to Leave the EU on 29th of March 2019.
Not only is this chaotic situation worrying for citizens but it is calamitous for business as the uncertainty makes preparing for Brexit almost impossible.
The UK Government has announced the tariffs which will be applied if there is a No Deal Brexit.
What is a tariff ?
A tariff is a % applied to goods when they are traded between countries. Currently the UK is a member of the EU and as such is a member of the single market. This means goods are traded freely between the member countries. If there is a No Deal Brexit the UK will immediately be out of the single market. It will be termed as a ‘Third Country’ which means tariffs will be applied. This adds costs to goods which become more expensive.
The UK Government’s tariff regime announced on 13th of March is proposed to last 12 months as a temporary measure should there be a No Deal Brexit. The new rates would apply from 11pm on 29th of March 2019. If Brexit goes ahead with a deal there will be a transition period for businesses to adapt but eventually when that comes to an end tariffs will also be applied.
As well as tariffs being applied there will be more documentation for businesses to fill in and checks will have to be made at the border between the UK and the EU. The exception in these latest proposals would be on the island of Ireland, however, at some point – be it the middle of the Irish Sea or the port of entry to mainland UK, border checks would have to take place.
Border checks take time which doesn’t affect a product if it is a car part but it does if it is ‘live’ for example like Orkney crab.
Regulations for live shellfish exports to the EU after Brexit
An export certificate is needed for each consignment for anyone exporting directly into the EU – can be completed online
An export health certificate (paper) is needed for each consignment signed in person after inspection by an environmental health officer or a vet – £38.60. Currently these are only available Mon – Fri during office hours. In Orkney it would be from OIC. This must go with the consignment and will be checked at the EU border inspection post. Currently this is only available at Zeebrugge.
Delays are likely and exporters are advised to check if they have arrangements in place to prevent live shellfish rotting before it reaches its market.
The Scottish Government has described the UK Government’s tariff proposals as reckless having been announced with no prior consultation with the devolved administrations.
£2million has been made available to businesses by the Scottish Government in order to support them in preparing for Brexit. The Brexit Support Grant, administered by Scottish Enterprise, will help small and medium sized businesses with funding of up to £4000 each. It is available to SMEs whether or not they export to the EU.
Support and information can be found here: Brexit Planning for Businesses in Scotland
Reporter: Fiona Grahame