For the purposes of data protection, the UK will transitionally recognise all EEA states, EU and EEA institutions and Gibraltar as providing an adequate level of protection for personal data, allowing personal data to continue to flow to these destinations from the UK following its exit from the EU. The same will not be the case for the reciprocal flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK in light of a no deal Brexit.
SME’s that rely on the free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK will need to consider alternative transfer mechanisms to maintain data flow with minimum disruption.
One solution is to incorporate ‘standard contractual clauses’ into contracts between your company and organisations outside of the UK. This is a cost effective measure for SME’s and preparation at this stage could lead to competitor advantage post Brexit.
The British Chamber of Commerce have provided a helpful checklist for all companies to consider, and while some companies are preparing, others are adopting the dangerous ‘wait and see’ option. The fact is that the UK’s impending departure from the European Union with or without a dealwillaffect businesses of every size and sector.
Other points you may wish to consider:
1). Have you / your management team devoted time to considering the potential consequences of Brexit/ no deal Brexit on your business?
2). Have you mapped your supplier and customer base – and considered how changes in the UK-EU trade relationship could affect them?
3). In the future will you need to hire staff from outside the UK? If so have you taken any steps as to address how you are going to do this?
4). Cross border trading – As a ‘third country’ UK exporters to the EU may be required to make customs declarations. What custom procedures do you have in place with non-EU countries? If required to do so, are you ready to apply these to imports from or exports to the EU?
5). Delays at borders – How resilient are your supply chain to border delays? Do any of your contracts have penalty clauses for late delays? Do you need to discuss this with you logistics supplier or contract lawyer?
6). There may be tariffs introduced between the UK and EU based on the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs which apply to countries that do not have a special arrangement with the EU. Do you know the MFN tariff applicable to your product? If agreement between the UK and EU is not reached what is the impact of the MFN tariff on your product(s)?
7). If there is to be a EU/UK zero tariff trade agreement in the near future, you will need to show that your product is 50-55% locally sourced. Will you be able to show this? Do you need to speak to your suppliers to obtain this information?
8). Currency – What currency are you paid in? Have you prepared for further currency movements in March 2019?
9). Trademarks – Will EU trademarks be applicable to the UK in future? Do you need to speak to your IT lawyers on how to protect your intellectual property after March 2019?
10). Contracts review – Do your contracts need reviewing in light of Brexit? E.g. any reference to EU regulations may have to be removed, such as “Union or Member State law”, which will instead be read as “domestic law”.
11). Other areas to consider include import VAT from the EU and VAT registration in EU if you trade in services – do you need to appoint an agent in every EU state where you supply services?
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