Now that the UK Brexit trade deal has been finalised, years of uncertainty for British businesses have thankfully been bought to a conclusion. After many months of speculation about whether the UK would leave the European single market, and the possible need to install a hard trade border in Northern Ireland, there is some clarity for businesses looking to export overseas and do business in continental Europe.
Last year, we wrote an article listing the Government Resources for 5 Key Global Business Challenges. In this article, we’ll list the most useful UK Government resources, including guides and advice to keep your business moving forwards and help it observe the new rules as we transition into a post-Brexit landscape.
Which new rules apply to your business?
Starting from 1st January 2021, new rules were established for travel and doing business in Europe. The Brexit rules tool on the government’s Brexit transition page will help your business quickly learn which rules apply to you.
The government has also provided a video summarising what the new rules might mean for your business, on everything from exports, imports, tariffs, data management and hiring staff. The Brexit checker, however, will give your business a set of personalised guidelines, so you can put a checklist of actions in place to address before you continue business in Europe, or expand your operations.
Exporting goods to the EU – new rules
An eight-step process applies to businesses exporting goods to Europe. The first step is to understand whether the rules apply to your business.
They will if:
- You permanently move goods from Great Britain (England, Wales & Scotland) to a country outside the UK
- You permanently move goods from Northern Ireland to a country outside the UK and the EU
Rules differ depending on how you plan to move the goods, and the duties and restrictions
To determine exactly which rules apply to your business, follow the eight-step process.
Importing goods from the EU – new rules
If your organisation imports goods to the UK, you’ll need to know the different rules which apply to trading with different countries. These include: the amount of tax and duty you’ll have to pay, and also whether you’ll need a licence or certificate marking the import of goods.
There are 11 steps you’ll need to unpack to understand what applies to your business.
As with exporting goods, some new rules will apply if:
- You permanently move goods into Great Britain (England, Wales & Scotland) from a country outside the UK
- You permanently move goods into Northern Ireland from a country outside the UK and the EU
Employing EU citizens as workers in the UK
For businesses employing EU citizens in the UK, you’ll need to read the new information from the government for employers employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. The rules cover the right to work checks, what the EU Settlement Scheme entails and the updated UK immigration system.
According to Statista, the sectors with the most EU workers are manufacturing (34,951), wholesale and retail (30,590), healthcare and social work (25,953). If your business is in these sectors and employs a number of EU citizens in the UK, the new rules will impact you heavily.
You can check an EU citizen’s right to work in the UK as before Brexit, up until 30 June 2021.
Up to the end of June, workers can prove their right to work in the following ways:
- EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens should provide their passport or national identity card
- Non-EU, EEA and Swiss citizens’ families should use the immigration status document in the right to work checks employer guide
Driving and transport – to the UK and to the EU
Here’s what businesses need to know when driving to and transporting goods to the EU. There are separate guidelines for lorry and goods vehicle drivers and bus and coach drivers – the rules in full are available at the link above.
When driving abroad in Europe, drivers will need to carry their UK driving license. You will not need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein. However, you may need one in certain EU countries and Norway if you have a paper driving license, or your license was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man.
Money and tax – rules for businesses
The rules for the origin of goods between the UK and the EU have changed. The most important changes to the rules can be found on the gov.uk rules of origin resource.
By scrutinising the rules relevant to your business, you can ensure you pay zero tariffs when trading goods with the EU. Zero tariffs rules go both ways, from the UK and to the UK, so to continue trading as usual pay close attention to the rules that apply whether you are an importer or exporter.
Businesses that import or export goods using preference agreements, or a generalised scheme of preference, can reduce the taxes on their goods. To do so, you’ll need to have your goods classified. You can check whether the products you import or export are covered under the rules of origin here.
Education and learning – apprenticeships & further education
Businesses that wish to send employees on apprenticeships and enrol them in further education opportunities in the EU will need to be aware of new rules, now that the UK has left the EU.
The resource covers:
- Rules for those running colleges and training providers
- Rules for apprenticeships
- Rules for recruiting and sponsoring students/employees
- Rules for employing staff
- Rules for intellectual property
- Rules for recognition of qualifications (also covered in our recent blog)
- Rules for overseas university placements and cultural trips
- Rules for the EU Settlement Scheme and UK immigration
- Rules for students
Navigating the new rules – localisation is more important than ever
With new rules established for businesses looking to trade with EU countries, tailoring your content to individual markets is more important than ever. Businesses must understand new legislation, governing everything from travel and tax, to exports and imports.
Now is the time to overhaul your marketing strategy when doing business across the customer buying journey. It will be increasingly important in the awareness phase of the buying journey to offer reassurance to potential customers. Your business will need to assert that Brexit won’t disrupt your goods or services, or impact your price point. But this also means thinking about translation far beyond websites and marketing, but to initial contracts and after-sales material.
When looking to expand, you’ll need to understand the regulatory environment of each target market and the freedom of movement rules, which will impact your staff’s ability to travel and undertake long overseas assignments.
All of this means that the principle of localisation is crucial, despite Brexit appearing to be a move away from globalisation. To survive the changes brought about by the UK leaving the EU, perhaps ironically, UK businesses will need to embrace globalisation.
This means localising every piece of content you rely on for growth, whether it’s materials for your sales agents or blog content. Our expert language translation services can help you achieve hyper-localised content that is nuanced, precise and compelling to your markets.