Government sounds alarm over lack of business preparedness for no deal Brexit

The publication today of a Government report entitled  Implications for Business and Trade of a No Deal Exit has highlighted that tens of thousands of businesses may be unprepared to continue to trade with the EU post-Brexit.

The report notes that as of February 2019 there had only been around 40,000 registrations for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) registration number. The EORI number is needed to make customs declarations allowing businesses to be able to continue to trade with the EU post-Brexit.

However, this compares with an estimate of around 240,000 EU-only UK trading businesses which will require such a registration number in order to make customs declarations post-Brexit.

The report also confirms the UK Government has still not published its intended tariffs for imports into the UK post-Brexit.

Brad Ashton, Customs and International Trade partner at RSM said:

'While the Government highlights that there is capacity to sign up 11,000 businesses per day for an EORI number, this is less than reassuring.

'Clearly, there are a huge number of businesses who simply aren't aware of what they need to do to be able to continue to trade with the EU post-Brexit.

'For some businesses that are already VAT registered the process for obtaining an EORI can be straightforward. However, for non-VAT registered businesses the process is more complex and time consuming.

'The message is very clear – those businesses that trade with the EU and haven't yet obtained an EORI need to get their skates on as the clock is ticking.'