Where are we now?

This article is being drafted at the beginning of what could be a significant week in Parliament in determining the course of Brexit.  However, at the end of it, major uncertainties are likely to remain.

In such a scenario what can a business do?

Despite reports of lack of preparedness it is reasonable to conjecture that many have indeed sought to insulate themselves as much as possible from the range of possible outcomes, including from the worst-case scenario of ‘no deal’…  sometimes at considerable additional cost.

If anyone wishes to satisfy themselves they have done the groundwork there are good guides and checklists around.  These come from a range of sources such as: ICAEW, British Chambers of Commerce and Institute of Export.

However, we are now really looking at managing residual and uncertain exposure, for example, from:

  • Tariffs
  • Customs administration
  • Delays (notably where time sensitive products or services are involved)
  • Ability of personnel within the company to deal with imposed change at short notice

Essentially, a question of: ‘given the range of possible scenarios, how can I best insulate myself from the more material consequences?’ 

In the more extreme cases (and service sectors are an example) that could well mean ensuring a greater presence in a key market, so that the licence to operate freely is not impaired.  An alternative example would be ensuring that key supplies are readily accessible locally.  Fundamental risk management…

About the author

David Millett is a coach and trainer who works regularly for RWA. He has a long experience in trade issues with a background in banking, where he was Head Of Trade Product Management for the Royal Bank of Scotland, before becoming Head of Business Development for UK Export Finance’s short-term business. David is a Fellow of the Institute of Export and former Council Member for the International Chamber of Commerce UK and the British Exporters Association.

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