John Whitehouse, the chair of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA), has offered advice and five key recommendations on the Brexit countdown situation for foodservice equipment suppliers.
Whitehouse commented: "Foodservice equipment suppliers are having to build their future plans around the practical, financial and political implications of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Essentially this comes down to effective cost and revenue management, to ensure that businesses are able to manage any changes.
"CESA is a member of the EURIS taskforce, which has been in communication with the government on the key issues affecting UK manufacturing and distribution. This has been a complex process as we need to ensure that as EU legislation is transferred to UK statutory instruments that there are no changes to the requirements in the event of a no-deal Brexit."
CESA's Brexit recommendations:
- Apply for an EORI number
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, companies will need this in order to continue trading with the EU after the 29 March. In order to apply, simply fill in the correct form on the HMRC website. There are different forms if you are VAT registered, not VAT registered and exporting, and not VAT registered and importing. Your EORI number will be issued by email, usually within three working days.
- Map and audit your supply chains
In a no-deal scenario, trade with the EU will be on non-preferential, WTO terms. This means that Most Favoured Nation tariffs and non-preferential rules of origin will apply to consignments between the UK and EU. You should confer with your critical trading partners and ensure they have contingency plans in place. It's also worth considering alternative transit arrangements in case existing routes are blocked.
- HTS classification
Everything you import or export will need an HTS classification. This determines the duty rate paid at import. Further information about these codes can be found on the government's Trade Tariff Service website here.
- Duty payments
Post Brexit, all goods coming from the EU will incur duty. If you do not have a deferment account with the HMRC, consider obtaining one, and if you already do, check that you have an adequate level of guarantee. Deferment accounts allow you to defer duty and import VAT to the end of the month. You will, of course, need a bank guarantee to cover the average amounts payable in a standard month.
- Register for TSP
Transitional Simplified Procedures aim to reduce the amount of information required for an import declaration. This allows you to defer giving a full declaration. Further information on how to register can also be found on the government's gov.uk website here.
"Are there any positives in the current situation?" Whitehouse questions in his commentary. "Businesses are preparing themselves as best they can, but it can be difficult to imagine many positives particularly under a no deal scenario.
"However the boards of companies are resilient, and well positioned to deal with unexpected developments. They have access to real-time reporting of information on performance and are able to make the kinds of key decisions that ensure a sustainable business model is maintained."Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).