Brexit hub

The UK and the EU are now two distinct regulatory and legal markets, creating opportunities as well as barriers to trade in goods and services, mobility and exchanges. For the UK to continue its trading association with the EU into the future, a provisional agreement will govern the relationship until all parties have concluded the legislative processes.

A Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is in now place between the UK government and the European Commission, effective as of 1 January 2021. This replaces the transition agreement that expired on 31 December 2020, the UK having previously left the EU on 31 January 2020.

Your business is likely to be having to adapt and make changes to your operations as a result of leaving the single market. You are probably up to your eyeballs in such issues as customs, people and recruitment, data protection and regulatory compliance – areas that most of you won’t have had to think about before now.

It is a complex area, with the official TCA document running to some 1,200 pages (read our pocket digest here), but our Brexit Impact team is here to guide you through it all. Businesses that remain agile will thrive.

If you would like more information, please get in touch using the form below.

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Goods and services

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods.

However, whether your business is importing or exporting goods or services, you probably have plenty of questions. Should you set up an entity in the relevant jurisdiction? How do you deal with profits earned there? How do you handle the vastly differing levels of corporation tax between countries? Do you pass on additional costs to your end customer? Do you need Authorised Economic Operator status?

For every single business, the scenario is different. What we can tell you is that our import/export experts know every centimetre, or should we say inch, of the cross-border trade labyrinth. For months now, we have been living and breathing Brexit’s impact on our clients who are importing and exporting.

Those of you trading goods need greater awareness of your supply chain and the different rates of duty payable on different products. For exporters, you will need to fulfil ‘Rules of Origin’ requirements. For importers, we can help you allocate the administrative burden of import and apply for recovery of import VAT.

For those involved in distribution and logistics, whether to establish a central hub or alter your transportation routes are some immediate considerations. FMCGs needing refrigeration or special atmospheric conditions need to avoid delays at customs. Road haulage permits are required, even if you are simply traversing a jurisdiction bound elsewhere.

If you need to set up an entity, we can help you decide, firstly, where and, secondly, whether it has to be a subsidiary, branch or ‘pass-through vehicle’. You need to address issues like financing, regulatory implications, back-office function, interaction with HQ, tax and transfer pricing rules.

If your entity is to be staffed, you need to comply with local employment stipulations. In terms of repatriating profit, we walk you through withholding taxes, domestic exemptions and the reliefs you’re eligible for.

And don’t get us started on IP, EU VAT, EORI, LVCR or MOSS…unless you want us to, of course.

If you would like more information, please get in touch using the form below.

People

Recruitment and staffing from EU member states
Regarding people, recruitment and staffing from EU member states, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is detailed. Our HR, global mobility and tax experts are limbered up and ready to guide you safely down the Brexit slalom of all-things people-related. Residential status, employment law, work permits, immigration, taxes, furlough, remote working in different jurisdictions, repatriation…the actual list will depend on your specific circumstances.

Now is the time for you to ask us all those practical questions. What about payroll? How should income tax be calculated? What about social security for a UK employer seconded in an EU state? How does the points-based immigration system work? Which employment levies apply?

You as an employer have already got your employees to check their specific residence requirements and right to work either through the EU Settlement Scheme or the relevant authority in the host EU27 state. If you second employees internationally between the UK and EU27, you’ll need us to get you up to speed on a whole raft of issues you’ve never considered before, such as agency worker standards, anti-discrimination law, and health and safety.

And then there’s healthcare – does the European Health Insurance Card scheme still exist? Can intra-corporate transferees be accompanied by their partners and dependents? For students, what’s the difference between the old Erasmus scheme and the new Turing scheme?

If you would like more information, please get in touch using the form below.

Data protection

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) includes a temporary solution to keep data flowing between the EU and the UK until a data adequacy decision is reached.

Whether your organisation stores or sends personal, confidential or any kind of sensitive information digitally, or provides an online service, you are duty-bound to safeguard its security. Under the TCA, both sides have committed to upholding high levels of data protection standards. But what does this mean and how do you ensure integrity?

Our data protection specialists know the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its cross-border implications inside out. We can analyse your systems for you, manage policies and procedures, and bring you up to standard. If you have competence in-house, you can use our compliance portal with its real-time dashboard to certify your organisation. Or our Data Protection Officers can work with your Data Controller.

If you are considering an audit of your overall cybersecurity, you are in good company. Our data protection specialists are all about tethering your clouds, streams, zips and flows.

Regulatory compliance
The TCA commits the UK and the EU to upholding common high standards ensuring the protection of labour and social standards, environmental protection and tax transparency. For exporters of good, how do you prove they are acceptable for sale in the EU? Is it the manufacturer or the importer who is responsible for product safety, conformity assessment and labelling? If you operate in the car, pharmaceutical, chemical, aerospace and agri-food sectors, what specific actions do you need to take?

If you would like more information, please get in touch using the form below.