In a statement made to the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, just a week ago, he clearly indicates that with now less than 100 days before the UK officially leaves the EU Customs Union and the Single Market, there are great opportunities ahead but also important challenges.
Mr. Grove says "The Government is of course committed to negotiating a new Free Trade Agreement with the EU before the end of the transition period. And those talks are progressing.
But, whatever the outcome of those negotiations, things will change for businesses and individuals as they trade with and travel to the EU. It is important that we as Parliamentarians all understand that and that we all take action to prepare"
As we have been saying over the years since the referendum, there will be some fundamentals in the way we trade that will change. With or without a deal, there will be additional customs procedures UK and EU companies will have to carry out from 1st January 2021 onwards.
The statement also says that in a recent survey, whilst 78% of the surveyed companies indicated to have taken steps to prepare, only 24% of those believe are 'fully prepared', and more worrisome is the fact that 43% of the businesses believed there will be an extension to the transition period, despite the fact the deadline to request for it has long gone.
Whilst the government is making investments in terms of its infrastructure and skill set across the country, if companies are not taken themselves the proper steps to prepare we will see further disruptions to what we can expect with the introductions of new processes and IT systems, and a wider economic impact.
The Chancellor continues to highlight what could be a 'Reasonable worst-case scenario', which is not classified as a forecast nor prediction, but simply intends to set an scenario of what will likely happen if all are not prepare.
If you are a UK exporter or importer, or a business seeking to start exporting/importing in the near future, it is imperative you understand what are the key areas of your business that will be impacted by the UK leaving the customs union and single market, and ensuring you are taking the right steps to be ready to navigate through those challenges.
Greater Manchester Chamber has taken steps to help companies offering a mix of free and commercial services to help companies prepare:
Free Masterclasses which provide high level overview on key technical areas of exporting and importing.
Don't leave it till the last minute and Get Brexit Ready with Greater Manchester Chamber!