brexit extension

Brexit Extension – What it Means for International Trade

In response to the UK Government’s request for a Brexit Extension, the 27 members of the EU have agreed as it’s clearly unfeasible to reach a satisfactory conclusion by March 29. Now, if UK Prime Minister Theresa May is able to get parliament to agree to her withdrawal agreement, she’ll be granted an extension to May 22 in order to finalise the proposed plan.

However, if May is unable to get her deal through parliament then the deadline will be reduced to April 12. So, what can this mean for Brexit and business should she fail to agree a deal that leads to frictionless trade between the UK and the EU? Well, while it’s clear that the best-case scenario is a comprehensive trade agreement between the UK and the EU, the worst-case scenario would be a failed negotiation that leaves the UK entering into a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on April 12.

This haphazard period over the last few years has left businesses across the UK and Europe facing unprecedented uncertainty when it comes to imports and exports. While the UK Government remains “confident” that there will be a deal reached they are suggesting that each individual business considers how a ‘no-deal’ scenario would affect them. However, the only positive thing that can be taken from the Brexit extension is that it gives businesses slightly more time to put protective measures in place.


Brexit extension and effect on businesses – customs and excise

Should the UK leave the EU with a ‘no deal’ situation, the short-term Brexit effect on business will be sudden and potentially disruptive. However, with the right strategy and documentation in place your business should be subject to as little disruption as possible.

To help your business continue its import and export operations with the EU as smoothly as possible, we’ve created this essential checklist for you to follow. Remember, time is running out so you must act quickly if you haven’t already completed these steps



The first step in preparing for Brexit is registering for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This will enable your business to continue to import and/or export your goods to or from the EU should the UK leave without a trade deal in place. In essence, an EORI number will make it far easier for your business to apply for customs authorisations. However, the UK Government is yet to release the finer details on the customs authorisation process.

If you still need to apply for a EORI number, please do so by visiting the UK Government’s website.


2. Import/Export declarations

Import and export declarations are an essential part of the trade process in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. If you haven’t done so already, the Brexit extension gives you a little more time to decide whether your business will be making its declarations independently (this can be done by purchasing specialised software that interacts with HMRC’s systems) or if you outsource this task to an external agent.

Should you choose an agent, it’s vital that your business makes contact as quickly as possible. You’ll both need to establish the precise information needed for the agent to act on your behalf. But, if you choose to go it alone, you will need to carefully select a software provider that can cater to the unique import and/or export requirements of your business.


3. Speak with an expert logistics company

If your business is dependent on a logistics company in order to transport your goods, you will need to reach out to them and clarify how your professional relationship will work in a post ‘no deal’ Brexit. It’s quite possible that they will need further information from your business so that they can make any necessary safety and security declarations on your goods. However, you may also make these declarations yourself should you wish to take on that responsibility.


Questions on how Brexit could impact your business?

At Smart Directions, we’re at the forefront of logistics and haulage. We’ve carefully considered the Brexit effect on business and the how the Brexit extension can further impact trade. If you’d like to speak with a qualified member of our team about Brexit and business or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us now. Alternatively, you can stay up to date on Brexit related news by bookmarking our Smart Directions News page.

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