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Brexit Bulletin – January 2021
Brexit Bulletin – January 2021

Welcome to your January 2021 Brexit Bulletin. The UK has finally left the Single Market and Customs Union, so there have been many changes afoot.

Shortly before Christmas we published our EU Exit Guide, and we've updated that this month following the announcement of the free trade agreement on Christmas Eve. So, make sure you check it out as it includes steps you need to take on various areas such as trade, product labelling, employment and contracts. The Government's Brexit Transition Checker is also available. It allows you to submit information relevant to your business to receive a tailored list of specific actions you need to take.

Unanswered questions? Let us know and we'll ask our contacts in the Department for Business. 

Don't forget you can add colleagues to our mailing list by logging into the members' area of the BPIF website or by contacting your Regional Director.


In this month's Bulletin:

1.    Political update

2.    Latest industry mood music

3.    Keep your business moving

4.    Rules of Origin - what you need to do

5.    New Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

6.    Northern Ireland trade updates

7.    Latest publications

1.    Political update

Despite the publication of the 1,246 page free trade agreement on 24 December, there are still many areas of the UK's future relationship with the EU to be thrashed out. For example, it's not clear how data sharing of security and intelligence material will pan out, or how serious divergence on climate issues will be avoided. On finance, there's much left unsaid, with the trade deal promising that HM Treasury and the European Commission will sign a cooperation agreement to cover financial services regulation by March 2021. And the agreement reached on fish was certainly hard won, but there's still a lot more talking to do about access to each other's waters after an initial five-year transition period.

With the deal still bedding in, the UK announced it would downgrade the diplomatic status of the EU ambassador to the UK, Joao Vale de Almeida, with critics warning that 'petty' move could mean repercussions for the UK's counterpart in Brussels.

Politics aside, there have been logistical challenges in the first few weeks of the new normal, with some household name retailers including John Lewis suspending deliveries to Northern Ireland amid confusion about customs declarations. Amazon is reportedly planning to remove some products for sale in Northern Ireland after 1 April, when the 'grace period' for checks and controls ends. 

And while most trade deals with rest-of-world countries have been rolled over, that's not been the case with Ghana, meaning heavy tariffs on imports of cocoa, bananas and tuna from the West African country. On the export side of things, Scottish seafood exporters have complained that their shipments are being held up by red tape in both Scotland and France, with waits for export health certificates at the Scottish end, and entire trailers being checked on the French side.

In fact, research by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply published this week found that 60% of firms reported delays to shipments to the UK from the EU (although COVID restrictions are likely to account for some of these difficulties).


2.    Latest industry mood music

Our first Printing Outlook survey since the end of the Transition Period shows that:

  • Supply chain security remains your number one concern regarding Brexit, closely followed by non-tariff barriers and then general cost inflation.
  • While the top three perceived opportunities arising from Brexit haven't changed, the order has. More of you are now expecting to see the benefits of work returning to the UK due to an increased cost of doing business with the EU. Home-grown support and government support were cited as the second and third biggest opportunities.
  • Outside the top three opportunities, fewer companies now expect an advantageous reduction in red tape, while more hope to be able to tailor their products and services in order to ease their customers' Brexit pain.

The full results will be published soon in Printing Outlook Q1 2021, so look out for it!


3.    Keep your business moving

Last week Small Business Minister Paul Scully warned companies not to delay any longer as the Department for Business launched a series of on demand videos on subjects ranging from trade to data. Once you have registered you can view topics by issue or by sector.  

The Business Support Helpline (0800 098 1098) is also available. It's a free service operating across England and it can provide information on a wide range of business issues inside and outside of Brexit, including starting up, business continuity, growth and access to finance (including support available from government). Similar services are available in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.


4.    Rules of origin - what you need to do 

There's new information relevant to Rules of Origin that you may need to be aware of.

As we know, the signing of the UK-EU trade deal means that most traders moving goods between the UK and EU will avoid paying tariffs. However, in order to avoid paying tariffs all traders must make sure they meet the relevant Rules of Origin (RoO) for their products and make a declaration to say so.

What you need to do

There are a few steps to complete, but it shouldn't be too onerous:

  • Check the rules that are applicable to your products to ensure that the products are originating in either the UK or EU and can therefore be traded on preferential terms. Go to the guidance on the website to check.
  • Agree with your EU suppliers/customers whether a claim will be based on an exporter's declaration or on the importer's knowledge, informing customs agents as appropriate (if customs agents are being used).
  • If you need to make an exporter's declaration, you must make it on the commercial and customs documentation (e.g. the invoice) for all consignments being traded.

Go to our website to copy and paste a template exporter's declaration and read our Q&A.


5.    New Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

This month saw the launch of the new Global Health Insurance Card which is part of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement mentioned above. It will gradually replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and will ensure UK residents' rights to emergency and medically necessary healthcare when travelling in the EU.

From today, UK residents will be able to apply for the GHIC but current EHICs are also valid as long as they are in date. If you have an EHIC, when it expires you'll need to apply for a GHIC instead. GHICs are free and can be applied for online, but give it two weeks before travelling so the application can be processed.


6.    Northern Ireland trade updates

If you're trading between GB and NI, you will need an EORI number that starts with XI in order to continue.

Yes, this is different to your GB EORI number, and you will need your GB EORI number to apply for your XI EORI number. If you don't have a GB EORI number, you can apply for both at the same time. The application takes 5-10 minutes.

Hopefully if you trade with NI, you've already signed up for the Trader Support Service (TSS) we've previously told you about. Although the TSS takes a lot of the work out of your hands, the Northern Ireland Customs & Trade Academy is offering free training once you've signed up. These courses are available:

It's all online and more courses are coming soon. There are also webinars you can play back at any time.


7.    Latest publications 

Chatham House - Global Britain, Global Broker: A blueprint for the UK's future international role

UK in a Changing Europe/NatCen - Thinking about post-Brexit public policy: Voters' perspective on immigration and regulation

View all the online resources here.

29 January 2021

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For more information please contact:
Carys Davis
Carys Davis
Public Affairs Adviser
07854 950316
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