With Brexit now in full swing, we reflect on the changes it has made to UK businesses. From early in 2020, businesses have had to adapt their way of thinking and delivering their services and products. This has been a huge challenge for some, and now Brexit is upon us and the withdrawal agreement, which ended on the 31st December 2020, we face even further challenges.
How Brexit affects business will be different in each sector, each company will face different challenges. Some businesses will no doubt be impacted more than others, such as financial services, but it will be those that trade internationally that will see the greater impact with the free trade arrangement now ended.
- Supply Chain – Brexit has brought a risk of increased costs to supply chains.
- Customs / border tariffs – It is now crucial for importers and exporters to understand the potential customs implications for their businesses.
- Workforce – While much of British employment law derives from Europe, some areas are purely UK provisions.
- Regulation – The impact of Brexit on regulation is potentially enormous. In many areas, the UK largely works to European-wide standards and it is likely that UK regulation will continue to comply with those standards (but with no ability to shape the policy behind them).
- Economic issues – The impact of Brexit on regulation is potentially enormous. In many areas, the UK largely works to European-wide standards and it is likely that UK regulation will continue to comply with those standards (but with no ability to shape the policy behind them).
- Intellectual property – Leaving the EU will mean changes to IP law in the UK, so businesses need to know how they will be affected in respect of patents, trademarks, design and copyright.
While Brexit is mostly seen as a risk, it will bring many opportunities. The volatility of currency will favour some businesses and new trading relationships will need to be explored. With the UK leaving the EU, there will be freedom for freelancers and businesses to work closely with emerging economies like India, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
New trade arrangements will be made and small and medium enterprises, who were regulated by the EU membership will be free to trade overseas.
The weaken pound is likely to increase export sales, as it will become cheaper to produce goods in the UK rather than somewhere with a stronger currency, making your business more competitive.
As Brexit has been viewed as an opportunity to become independent, there has been rising support in buying domestic products rather than imports. This combined with concerns over climate change, more people are linking ‘local’ instead of ‘global’. Local production, local supply and local manufacturing services can all take advantage of this growing trend.