Brexit Bulletin – March 2019
Today's the day the UK was due to leave the EU. Read on to find out what's actually happening and how this could affect your business.
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Thanks again for all your input!
In this month’s Bulletin:
1. Brexit update
2. Commodity codes checker
3. HMRC readiness webinars
4. Do you have your EORI number?
5. Temporary tariff plans
6. Latest publications
Today’s the day the UK was due to leave the EU. On any given Friday, MPs usually spend time in their constituencies – conducting advice surgeries and visiting local business, schools and charities. Instead, they’ll be confined to the House of Commons in its latest attempt to agree the best way forward for Brexit. Today’s vote is – by necessity – a little different, though. Instead of voting on the entirety of Theresa May’s deal, MPs will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement only, leaving aside the Political Declaration.
What’s the difference? The Withdrawal Agreement is a legally binding document that sets out the terms of the UK's departure from the EU. It includes a financial settlement, details of a transition period for after we leave and protections for citizens' rights. It also includes the controversial Irish backstop. The Political Declaration, on the other hand, is a non-legally binding document that outlines plans for the future relationship between the UK and the EU after exit day. It doesn’t include a Customs Union, which means it doesn’t have Labour support – hence leaving it out of today’s vote.
From the EU’s point of view, if the UK can agree to the Withdrawal Agreement today, it can push Exit Day to 22 May (while agreeing the Political Declaration at a later date, or changing the law so that it isn’t needed).
If today’s vote doesn’t pass, the UK will only have until 12 April to come up with an alternative – likely to include a longer delay and participation in the European Parliament elections – or face leaving the EU without a deal.
As a ‘sweetener’, the PM has promised to resign and allow someone else to take over if the deal passes.
Want to remind yourself what’s in the Withdrawal Agreement? It’s only 599 pages long! Have a read here.
Commodity codes checker
We’ve previously published a link to an easy-to-use tariffs/commodity code database, and a list of frequently used codes for the printing and paper industries. If you’re still not sure of a commodity code for an item, you can contact HMRC and they will check it for you. Some of our members have already done this and received responses within a day or two.
Email [email protected] with the following information:
– company name
– contact name
– contact details
– the option which best describes your item:
– agricultural, chemical, textiles or ceramics (including food, drink, plastics, cosmetics,
sports equipment, games, toys, clothing, shoes)
– electrical, mechanical or miscellaneous (including vehicles, optical and measuring devices, machinery, musical instruments, metal, furniture, lighting, paper, printed matter, straw, glass, wood, jewellery)
– what the goods are made of (if more than one material, provide a breakdown of materials)
– what the goods are used for
– how the goods work or function
– how the goods are presented or packaged
– the code you consider to be appropriate for your goods
It can help to include photographs if the item is unusual or difficult to describe.
To read more on importing and exporting, please click here.
HMRC readiness webinars
HMRC have been running readiness webinars for businesses to help prepare for a no-deal Brexit. To watch a recording of the webinars, please click here.
Do you have your EORI number?
We’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again! You need to register for an EORI number if you trade with the EU and wish to continue doing so. If you currently trade with non-EU countries, you should already have one and you don’t need to re-register. If you’re not sure if you have one, or can’t find it, call HMRC on 0300 322 7067.
If you need one, it’s important to register now, before we leave the EU. You can apply online and it’ll take about 10 minutes, with your EORI number being sent to you by email three days later.
HMRC are currently saying they anticipate a high number of registrations over the next few weeks, so apply as soon as possible.
To register for an EORI number, please click here.
Temporary traiff plans
The Government announced on 13 March that if we leave the EU without a deal, there will be a temporary arrangement in which the vast majority of tariffs (everything but foil, cars, some clothing and food items) will be set at 0%, thereby maintaining the current status quo. This is in order to prevent a price shock where companies are suddenly passing the costs of import tariffs onto consumers. The temporary arrangement would be in place for up to 12 months, while the Government consults on a new tariff regime.
To read more on the temporary tariff plans, please click here.
We've trawled through the latest publications about Brexit of particular relevance to the printing industry. View the online resources here.
The BPIF has updated its one-page document summarising the latest developments regarding pulp, paper and board demand and prices.
For International Women's Day, the BPIF did some research to see exactly where the industry stands in terms of gender split and pay.