International Standards in a No Deal Brexit

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, ending a 47-year relationship. Countries may have been knee-deep in the recent pandemic but Brexit is still there, and we still need to negotiate a divorce package that both sides agree on. With a no deal Brexit a possibility, should your business adopt international standards to ease trading pain?

 

What does no deal Brexit mean for British businesses?

In a nutshell, a no deal withdrawal means no transition period and EU law will cease to apply to the UK. Trade between British companies and European counterparts will, therefore, be regulated by applying applicable principles and rules from bodies such as the World Trade Organisation.

Both sides are currently bemoaning a lack of progress, although it is understandable with a deadly virus on the doorstep. Recent news from inside the negotiations also said that there are ‘serious differences’ between the two sides. The likelihood of a no deal Brexit is still prominent.

If this is the case, what does it mean in reality? It means that the EU will apply third country rules to the UK concerning tariffs, custom controls and checks. These measures should satisfy the EU and member states that any British goods meet their requirements.

It is this final sentence – the meeting of EU requirements – that will send shivers down the spine of business. When we were part of the EU, showing how we met and sometimes exceeded these requirements and standards was ‘easier’ and more streamlined.

Adopting international standards won’t solve all the problems faced by British businesses in the case of a no deal Brexit, but they may settle the ship a little.

Adopting international standards as part of your business no deal Brexit plan

International standards show potential trading partners both in the domestic and foreign markets how a business can be trusted to deliver but what standards should you consider?

The importance of international standards has never been more apparent but simply grasping at any will not yield the results you expect:

ISOs

These highly valued and valuable certifications can be used by companies across the globe. Open to businesses of all shapes and sizes, being ISO certified highlights your business meets a benchmark relating to a certain topic, field or industry.

There are more than 21,000 ISO standards. Some are specific to certain technical and specialised skills such as ISO 17025 that relate to the calibration of scientific and laboratory equipment.

Other ISOs relate to business processes which are, in the delivery of some goods and services, critical. This could include ISO 27001 that relates to information security, including use, storage and retrieval. This is also important within the realms of GDPR which British businesses will still need to meet if they trade with partners and customers in the EU.

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)

AEO status could also be an important accreditation for companies who will continue to trade across borders. Created to streamline customs at trading posts, AEO is an EU wide initiative. It may help ease passage through customs in the event on a no-deal Brexit but this is not guaranteed nor confirmed.

In summary

It could be a very bumpy ride if there is a no deal Brexit which is why preparing your business is key.

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