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Blog: Where in the world do you want your business to be?

14 January 2020

Laura Howard shares her blog on Brexit

In our blog this month, Laura Howard, Head of International Trade at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), discusses the effect Brexit will have on international trade, and how businesses can prepare. Laura has over fifteen years’ experience in this field and manages a team of ten people who help over 1,000 businesses annually to succeed in overseas markets.

Where in the world do you want your business to be?

Changes are afoot in the international trade arena. Whether you are preparing for changes that are imminent at the end of January or those that will occur after any transition period, it’s helpful to know what could lie ahead.

Think Global

How regularly does your business plot ‘where next in the world’ it would like to be? Now is a great time to explore new markets, especially those inside Europe. A 12-month period is potentially available to cement links with EU partners.

The rest of the world offers great potential too, with over 50% of UK exports going outside the EU. Last year the Chamber processed export documentation going to over 160 countries. Many markets in Africa and Asia were among the highest growing in the world in 2019 by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

What changes could occur

When exporting goods your importer may ask you for a European Community Certificate of Origin. It is likely that the document will change to a United Kingdom Certificate of Origin, but that is likely to be the only noticeable change.

It is useful to identify what duty and import VAT would apply to the types of goods you deal in as this will give you the scale of what to plan for. Check the World Trade Organisation (WTO) website for more details.

Customs Declarations may be required. Please speak to the Chamber about help on offer.

Identifying new opportunities

Consider attending or exhibiting at a trade fair, working with your business or trade adviser, joining a trade mission or looking for a great partner. There are lots of ways to explore doing business, as well as internationalising your website.

Worth exploring

Consider any preferential treatment your exports and import may be eligible for. For example, temporary exports can avoid duties with an ATA Carnet (passport to goods) to certain markets. Inward and Outward Processing Relief may apply to provide relief from import duty and VAT on goods brought in to the UK from outside the EU to be processed and exported outside the EU.

Are you making the most of free trade agreements and using EUR1 and ATR1 forms?

Free support available – see Brexit Preparedness below provides regular updates on trade matters affecting your business. Details of continuity agreements can also be found by clicking this link.

  • Talk to your Freight Forwarder for support on warehousing and shipping when importing and exporting to Europe.
  • Talk to your solicitor about contracts in place and what changes may be required.
  • Contact your local Chamber and access a wealth of support through its international trade department.
  • Talk to a foreign exchange expert or your bank about the risk your business is exposed to.

Why export is for you?

Small businesses have agile workforces and deliver great customer service and your competitors will already be active in overseas markets. Brand-Britain is highly respected for its innovation and quality all over the world. Businesses that export are proven to have highly motivated employees, more robust profits and benefit from greater innovation.

Laura has a BA (Hons) in Business and is a member of the Chartered Management Institute.

Lucy Granger, International Trade & Customs Adviser from the Chamber, is offering funded support to businesses in Leicestershire regarding Brexit preparedness. This covers:

  • Export Documentation – Preference documents, certificates of origin, Legalised documents, ATA Carnets
  • Customs procedures/declarations
  • Shipping and Freight
  • Letters of Credit – Payment methods for international trade
  • Import and Export procedures and Administration
  • Temporary imports/exports

Lucy can be contacted by email or on 0333 320 0333 (ext.2146).