The outreach campaign launched today is part of the European Commission's ongoing efforts to prepare for the UK's exit of the European Union without a deal, in line with the European Council (Article 50) conclusions of December 2018, calling for intensified preparedness work for all scenarios. This campaign should help to inform businesses that want to continue trading with the UK after 30 March on what they need to do to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Preparing for the UK becoming a non-EU country is of paramount importance if significant disruption for EU business is to be avoided.
Today's launch aims to raise awareness amongst the EU's business community, especially SMEs. In order to prepare for a “no-deal” scenario and to continue trading with the UK, these businesses should:
- Consider obtaining various customs authorisations and registrations in order to facilitate their trading activity if the UK is part of their supply chain.
A range of material has today been made available to businesses, including a simple 5-step checklist, providing an overview of the steps that need to be taken. The campaign material is available in all EU languages.
Preparatory work, supported by the Commission, is also underway in Member States to ensure that national customs infrastructure and logistics are ready to deal with a no-deal scenario.
The ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement continues to be the objective and priority of the Commission. This ratification however remains uncertain. Given the risk of a ‘no-deal' scenario, the Commission has been engaged in intensive preparedness work since December 2017. It has consistently called on European citizens, businesses and Member States to prepare for all possible scenarios, assess relevant risks and plan their response to mitigate them.
Stakeholders, as well as national and EU authorities need to prepare for two possible main scenarios:
- If the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified before 30 March 2019, there will be no transition period and EU law will cease to apply to and in the UK as of 30 March 2019. This is referred to as the "no deal" or "cliff-edge" scenario.
In such a ‘no-deal' scenario, goods coming from or going to the UK will be treated as imports from and exports to a ‘third country'. This means that customs formalities and controls will apply at import and export. Customs duties, VAT and excise duties will be levied at importation, while exports to the UK will be exempt from VAT.
EU Member States' action is also essential. National authorities have a key role in monitoring and guiding industry preparations. On that basis, the European Commission has held technical discussions with the EU27 Member States both on general issues of preparedness and on sectorial, legal and administrative preparedness steps. A series of visits to the 27 EU Member States has also begun to make sure national contingency planning is on track and to provide any necessary clarifications on the preparedness process.