One star will soon be deleted, as part of a commercial future still not defined.
Regardless of views on Brexit, most people and almost all the business community are united on the dangers of a “no deal” outcome. An increasingly likely result, with no agreement in place and a few months to go.
Neither is this just a business view, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stating that a “messy divorce” would lead to a “fissure in relations between European allies that would take a generation to heal”.
Brexit uncertainty has already hit some sectors, such as property, where an RICS rep stated “Stamp duty and Brexit have killed the fluidity of the London market”. The wider service sector is also beginning to suffer as a whole.
We have reached the stage where government is producing written guidance for business, on a no deal scenario. The hope must be this remains unused, although every sector needs to prepare internally and on services they offer.
Temporary Export & No Deal
Oddly, the goverment docs on export and import fail to refer to ATA carnets. Surprising, when they would come into play with no other arrangements, the UK and all EU countries are members of the ATA carnet family.
The ATA system began in 1951, is run by the ICC WCF World ATA Carnet Council and was used by UK companies before our EU membership. There is no EU oversight as such, or reason for the approach not to be used in the event of no deal.
Even with the Single Administrative Document (SAD) available, compared to other EU options, an ATA carnet would be more efficient, user friendly and cost effective.
A helpful solution for business and on the surface, a bonanza for our company, more or less doubling opportunity. Even so, this is an opportunity which should be given a guarded welcome at best.
The Real No Deal
Our business, like most others, prospers because the UK does and because the UK is at the heart of trade. The point is not always recognised that with absolutely no deal, we will simply be another foreign country to the EU.
Having a status the same as any country on the planet will ensure we share the limitations they face. Costs and practical issues will influence business dealings with the EU, for UK companies and those thinking of settling here.
Using the UK as a European gateway becomes impossible for overseas companies and EU commercial enterprises would face barriers. The UK could simply become an impractical choice, along with other concerns.
Modern business may be seen to be about algorithms and online marketing but is run by people and is also about sentiment. Quite realistic to assume that Jeremy Hunt’s “fissure in relations…” will be a significant influence.
In a local business community, or a global network, isolation tends to fail and be unpopular. So whilst a “messy divorce” may look good for us, like many other companies, we might benefit more from global status and being welcome than short term opportunity.