Prime Minister ups the ante on urging firms to prepare for new trading rules after transition ends

Mon 19 Oct 2020
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

boris johnson

Trade talks with the EU may be continuing, but Prime Minster Boris Johnson is increasing the urgency of messaging to firms with a major advertising campaign to warn companies they need to step up their preparations, according to the FT

The PM will launch the ad push to publicise customs rules, as an Institute of Directors poll shows that more than half of UK companies saying they are still not prepared with just 75 days until transition ends.

Companies must prepare

Johnson will emphasise that 80% of actions required by businesses need to happen whether there is a trade deal or not.

With the UK set to leave the EU Customs Union and Single Market, the FT estimates that around 215 million customs declarations will be made every year, at a cost of £7bn and requiring 50,000 customs agents.

The ‘Time is Running Out’ campaign – announced by government yesterday – will include a letter to 200,000 businesses setting out new customs and tax rules which are likely to come into play.  

More help for business

Business Secretary Alok Sharma pointed out that there would be no extension to the transition period and hence there was no time to waste. The minister is also seeking additional funding to help businesses navigate a possible no-deal outcome, according to the Telegraph.

The funds will be used to bolster the help available for businesses by appointing 100 new advisers to offer urgent advice to companies distracted by the pandemic in preparing for new trading arrangements.

For firms trading between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the government has provided the free-to-use Trader Support Service. You can sign up for TSS here.

Seal the deal

This comes as business leaders again ‘sounded the alarm’ over a lack of readiness for no-deal. More than 70 organisations representing seven million jobs issued a statement calling for a trade deal to protect jobs and the economy.

While European economies continue to be shackled by the pandemic, there are signs that China, which experienced it first, is showing signs of recovery.

The Chinese economy expanded by 4.9% in Q3 representing a continuation of the country’s sharp turnaround from its historic decline in Q1. China is likely to be the only major economy to experience growth this year. 

“The recovery in the world’s second-largest economy, which has been stoked by a state-backed industrial boom, now shows signs of extending to consumption at a time when global growth remains under severe pressure,” according to the FT