BREXIT BLOG: Enact ‘no deal’ plans

With just over 60 days to go, the intensifying political deadlock means its full steam ahead with the no deal preparations.

Government has now reached the point of declaring it is ‘an operational priority’ to bolster its contingency plans, and saying that businesses must do the same.

British Ceramic Confederation Chief Executive, Dr Laura Cohen, said: “We know delivering a withdrawal deal remains the top priority, and we are using all our political clout to demand a resolution to the deadlock.
“But focused business preparations for a no deal scenario are now essential.
“Members should be equipped to deal with increased requirements for import and export declaration documentation and should map out the potential impacts on employees, trade, compliance, strategy, structure etc.
“If you use chemicals, talk to your suppliers about their intentions to register for UK REACH.
“Supply chains may face additional compliance costs and increased customs demands, and this may have an impact further up the chain.”

If a deal is agreed, then REACH-related compliance issues will be deferred in practice until December 31, 2020, however this transition period can no longer be assumed.

If you have previously traded solely within the EU, you should also follow HMRC guidance to register for an UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification, EORI.

Construction products manufacturers should speak to their test house, as they may need to demonstrate compliance with EU regulations if they export, and ensure they comply with new UK regulations as they come into force.

Dr Cohen added: “Brexit is an unprecedented political and economic phenomenon. We are actively tracking political developments and I would urge confederation members to get in touch if they need support or guidance.
“Timing is not on our side now, so having a set of contingency actions agreed with your key decision makers is a must.”

BREXIT checklist

  • Expect continued uncertainty, not only in the short term, but also the medium and long term, as future trading relationships are negotiated and implemented
  • Consider your customers and suppliers, many businesses will not be ready and this will have a knock-on impact
  • Maintain an agile governance structure, which is meeting regularly and making informed decisions
  • Prioritise engagement with your key people including important stakeholders like shareholders and banks
  • Document your contingency plans, allocated resources and responsibilities, and agree the key triggers and timings for action
  • Based on knowledge of your lead times, be ready for either a deal or ‘no deal’
  • Review your stock and locations of raw materials and finished goods so you can deal with any border delays
  • Some confederation members are considering fixing the price of a higher proportion of their energy, and looking into exchange rate hedging

NEW MEMBER PROFILE: Smart Separations has a simple solution to a complex problem

The British Ceramic Confederation’s newest member, Smart Separations, is an innovative start-up company on a mission to change the world.
Founder, Dr Hugo Macedo, is a problem-solver who had a bright idea while studying his PhD in tissue engineering.
He said: “I saw a need for a simple and cost-effective microfiltration device to separate stem cells. For the past five years I have been developing a ceramic-based microsieve.
“It’s a versatile, low-cost solution for stem cell and blood research, air filtration, industrial emissions lowering, and even wine clarification.”
Dr Macedo said joining the British Ceramic Confederation is a key part of his growth strategy: “Our ambition is to become the world’s leader in microfiltration and particle separation technology, filling the gap in the market.
“From the water we drink, the air we breathe, filtration is the backbone of healthcare and hygiene. “Joining the British Ceramic Confederation is a great opportunity for us to present our microfiltration platform to other people in the industry. I am positive we can develop strong partnerships to further scale up our membrane technology”.
Dr Laura Cohen, Chief Executive of the confederation, said: “One of the key ways we engage with members is events. We have a packed calendar covering everything from innovation to health and safety.
“Dr Macedo came to one of our ceramic innovation networking events and recognised the collaboration opportunities in our sector. It’s great to welcome Smart Separations on board.”