Preparing for Brexit (Part II)

In our previous blog on Brexit, we promised to provide some guidance on preparing for what appears to be an imminent withdrawal from the European Union by the United Kingdom as of 31-Jan-2020. On Friday, the 31st of January 2020, eleven days from the date of this publication, it is fully anticipated that the UK-EU withdrawal deal (aka “Brexit”) will take effect.

On that day, the UK becomes politically independent of the EU, with all British members of the European Parliament being relieved of their duties and, consequently, any members of the EU with a political position in the UK being relieved of theirs. While the UK will remain a part of the EU customs union after the withdrawal, essentially still trading as a member of the European Union, “priority one” for the UK will be to negotiate a trade deal with the EU so that UK goods and services continue to be available to the over 500 million people living there. 

Negotiation of a new trade deal with the EU stands to be a daunting task, however. In all, 27 member states and the European Parliament must agree to a deal for one to be ratified. If no deal can be struck, the results will likely include inevitable (and quite costly) tariffs on UK exports to the EU. While the Prime Minister’s office on Downing Street has officially stated, the UK wants a “broad free trade agreement covering goods and services”1, the reality remains that an estimated 759 treaties will need to be renegotiated in short order, including 49 customs treaties. The stakes are high for a trade deal to be completed by 31-Dec-2020, or the UK exits the EU on the “basis of withdrawal, only.” Meaning, the exit occurs regardless of whether trade terms have been negotiated with the EU.

In preparation for the coming, critical 11 months, businesses with international trade between the UK and EU need to be clear in their understanding of goods that currently cross these borders and could be impacted by the discussions set to occur before December. The impact that a “no deal” Brexit will have on trade tariffs between the UK and EU could be significant for “single-sourced” supply chains as soon as January 2021. Multi-national companies need to begin preparing their supply chains for impact by completing a supply chain risk assessment that includes a comprehensive evaluation of where goods are crossing borders in the EU and the tariffs they currently carry (if any). Understanding your risk exposure begins with visibility. For additional guidance and to contact us for help, visit us at

1. (source:

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