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16th January 2019



GETTING BREXIT-READY

What does making your business Brexit-ready really look like?

Here are some basic steps that businesses of any size should be considering:

Assessing the landscape

Savvy businesses will already have assessed the landscape: reviewing the business for EU customers, suppliers and employees; considering the effect of possible customs changes; identifying contracts with EU partners; and forecasting how currency revaluations could impact finances. Once you’ve identified the ways in which Brexit could impact your business, you can prepare to minimise the risk – even if uncertainties remain.

Securing your supply chain

Supply chains are critical for business operations, so if these relationships are set to become difficult or impractical, consider your options. Could you source a more cost-effective solution from outside the EU or even cut your transport costs, delivery times and environmental footprint by sourcing closer to home in the UK?

Delays at ports and airports could be an issue in the immediate future. While obtaining Authorised Economic Operator status will gain businesses faster clearance at borders, take-up has been marginal on account of the administrative burden.

Reviewing regulatory changes

The recent implementation of the new data protection regulations (GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018) gives a good indication of how much work might be involved in adjusting to a new body of legislation. However, the most your business can realistically do to prepare at this stage is to keep up to date with government announcements and guidance through the Department for Exiting the European Union’s news portal. Once the laws to replace the EU’s are defined, legal experts can help you prepare your business to be compliant.

Prepping your contracts

Businesses would do well to assess the ability of any contract involving EU players to withstand a post-Brexit landscape, considering, for example, how price revision mechanisms, obligations to pay customs duties or handle resulting administration and border delays could affect performance on both sides.

If you provide goods or services to companies in the EU, a contract could give you some welcome security and certainty. If you’re looking to enter into new contracts or renew existing ones, ensure the Brexit risk areas are identified and covered.

Understanding workforce regulations

A business’ workforce is one of its most crucial assets, so it’s not a surprise that many businesses are funding Settled Status applications for staff coming from the EU-27. Revising benefits packages is another step that many businesses are taking in their efforts to incentivise key employees to stay in the UK.

Assessing intellectual property rights

It’s important to ensure your business can still protect its existing intellectual property (IP) rights in the UK and elsewhere post-Brexit. You can start by establishing what IP is yours and what IP you license from third parties, then assess where you are using EU rights (such as European Union Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs). Keep an eye on developments to ensure you have the correct registration and licensing agreements in place during and after the Brexit transition period.

Keep up to date with what Brexit means for your business by visiting Thrings’ Business of Brexit pages or contacting Kate Westbrook, Commercial Contracts Partner at Thrings.

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