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British companies should use the hiatus in Brexit preparations caused by the general election to work out the impact on their business so they are ready to lobby for Brexit terms that work for them, Wolters Kluwer urges today.
Sandra Strong, lead author for Wolters Kluwer’s Croner-i International Trade online service, said: “Now that Article 50 is invoked, we all need to work towards the best possible solutions, which means businesses, not just Government and civil servants. Start work now on what is important for your business and get involved in approaching Government and trade bodies in getting this right.
“If we know what we want, it’s more likely to happen. It is important to not just follow developments as they happen but to become proactive in helping to decide future policy once you have assessed your future business needs.”
She also warned the UK Treasury might lose out on millions of pounds in customs duties on imports from non-EU countries if the UK went down the same route as Turkey in striking a deal for the free circulation of goods with the EU.
The deal between the EU and Turkey has resulted in exporters from countries that have free trade agreements with the EU (but not with Turkey) avoiding Turkish customs duties altogether by sending goods into Turkey via an EU country.
“As a result, Turkey is losing vast amounts of customs duty with this trade deflection,” she said. “But maybe the EU will allow the UK to have a say in how to control this and be party to free trade agreement negotiations, something currently denied to Turkey.”
Although she said that the UK could negotiate the right to retain many import/export processes that help UK trade with the EU, Strong warned that areas such as film and television were vulnerable to a hard Brexit which left the UK outside EU copyright laws.
“We will also be excluded from the technology developments within the EU such as the digital single market which includes online transmission. Switzerland has over 100 bilateral agreements with the EU to try to make areas such as this work,” she said.
Urging UK businesses to use the breathing space created by the election campaign to stop and think about the practicalities of Brexit, Strong said: “Any business that trades internationally will need to understand the issues involved and, wherever possible, make plans to deal with them. They need to start assessing the potential impact on their business and consider raising their voice with trade bodies and local and national representatives to get the best outcome they can.”