Carol Lynch, Partner, Customs and International Trade Services featured in The Irish Times, discussing the necessity for businesses to prepare for Brexit. Read Carol's extract below.
Carol says the Covid-19 crisis has served to distract some businesses from their Brexit preparations. She says a significant proportion of companies, particularly SMEs, remain unprepared for Brexit because they were awaiting the outcome of trade talks or because they simply do not understand customs.
“I certainly see that a number of companies are still grappling with the Covid pandemic and have not focused on Brexit preparation but there is no time to waste,” she warns.
BDO is working with a number of companies to advise them on the last-minute steps they should be taking to ensure as smooth a transition as possible to this new way of trading.
“We are telling them to look at your supply chain to confirm what you are importing from the UK or exporting to the UK and also what is transiting through the UK, as they may need to look at alternative sources of supply where practical. Companies should also ensure they have a procedure for the new import and export rules and staff should be taking training courses to upskill.”
Carol says companies must determine if they are going to self-file their customs declarations. Her advice? To engage an experienced customs clearance agent.
Building additional time into the supply chain is also critical as teething problems in the early days are inevitable, she says.
“The initial problems will be companies entering customs declarations with incorrect information and therefore not being able to get through customs or enter the ports or get on to the ferries. This will happen either through a lack of understanding of how to complete declarations or using inexperienced clearance agents. Customs declarations entail complex tax paperwork and require substantial experience to complete.
“My view is that over half of companies who are new to importing and exporting will be affected by this. Drivers could end up parked up for a considerable time waiting for clearance.”
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Content adapted from The Irish Times