As Theresa May battles to get her deal through parliament, the deadlines draw nearer and manufacturers are doing everything they can to reduce the risks.
If the deal is approved, the coming months will see a ramping up of information exchange between government and business to embed the details of the new exit agreement.
There is no doubt we are in unchartered territory, and the British Ceramic Confederation is keeping in close contact with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and the Department for International Trade (BEIS and DIT).
This week we arranged site tours at Ibstock Chesterton, Churchill China and Johnson Tiles for officials from BEIS and the National Grid to better understand the challenges facing the sector. Among them was Rory Wallace, BEIS Deputy Director responsible for Energy Intensive Industries.
Meanwhile, work on a number of urgent trade remedies issues is ongoing with Cerame Unie and UK officials, most notably on kitchenware anti-dumping renewal.
The UK has agreed to carry over tiles and kitchenware anti-dumping measures, with a transition review expected at an undefined time after Brexit. Speak to for further information.
We are hearing from a number of members taking steps to prepare for a hard Brexit, whether that means port blockages or tariff increases. Contingency plans include additional storage, stock piling of raw materials, alternative delivery destinations, supply chain flexibility and cash flow modelling to deal with customs, VAT and tax changes.
It has also been widely reported British manufacturers are pulling back sharply on investment plans due to the increased uncertainty, with investment in SMEs particularly squeezed.
Dr Laura Cohen, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation said: “With 75% of our member companies categorised as SMEs, we know investing at this time is an issue.
“It is crucial the sector comes together as much as possible in the run up to Brexit. We can learn from each other and strengthen our resilience.
“The timeline is tight and we are calling on members to be as responsive and engaged as possible as we navigate the coming of months and years.
“To keep up to date with the latest information please share this newsletter with colleagues and book your spot on the Ceramic Sector Summit on March 29.”
November 25 - Emergency EU Summit planned for 9.30am on a Sunday next week to discuss the exit deal (if nothing extraordinary happens in the interim)
December 13th and 14th - last EU Council of 2018
December / January - Next possible dates for parliament to have its ‘meaningful vote’ on the exit agreement (pending prior cabinet approval)
January 21 - Deal deadline contained within the EU Withdrawal Act, if there is no deal then government must make a statement within five days on what it plans to do
January / February - EU Withdrawal bill could be passed into UK Law
March 21-22 - The final EU summit the UK is expected to attend as a member of the union
March 29 - Brexit day, could be a seamless transition or a cliff edge moment for the country. Trade talks can now begin, and if a deal has been agreed, the transition period will mean continued EU rules and regulations until Dec 31, 2020, to ease the impact on business.