Brexit, The Very Careful Steps Forward

It feels like an age with everything that has happened during 2020, and you might have forgotten all about it, but Brexit was real and the United Kingdom left the European Union on 31st January 2020.

The global pandemic may have pushed Brexit off the front pages of the press but the clock has been steadily and inexorably ticking away. At 11pm on the 31st December 2020 the current transition arrangement will cease. This will mean an end to the free movement of goods between the EU and the UK.

Regardless of how effective we have been as a nation at ‘getting Brexit done’, Futura have been working hard, since the triggering of article 50. This is to ensure that the effect on both our suppliers and customers is as small as possible. Given our status as the Mediterranean Dairy Specialist, it was clear from the beginning that we needed to get things right.

All good operations teams love an acronym and international trade brings with it a plethora of them, such as AEO, CFSP, EAD, EHC, ENS, POAO, BIP, MRN, EXW, FCA, DAP, DDP, etc, etc. The list seems to go on for ever and as soon as you think you have got it nailed another one will appear at the next seminar you attend. We have been through all of the processes required to ensure we have understood both the steps involved and the consequences for our business.

Some of the key developments to date have been as follows;

•  Appointment of a customs agent and advisor,
•  Awarded Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status with HMRC.
•  Registration of a GB EORI number.
•  Creation of a duty deferment account with HMRC.
•  Regular communication with our full supplier base across the EU to ensure that incoterns are set correctly and that they are ready to export outside of the EU from January.
•  Regular communication with all of our haulage partners outlining requirements and potential pitfalls from January.
•  Communication issued to our customer base to ensure that incoterns are set up correctly and that customers understand the full impact to cost of both tariff and non-tariff barriers.
•  Identification and validation of commodity codes for all lines that we sell.
•  Artwork amended to ensure that our brands can be sold in both UK and EU.
•  Initial training for all Futura staff involved.

To ensure that goods manufactured in the EU, which we already supply to our customers on the island of Ireland, remain in free movement and remain tariff free we are planning to hold stock in Ireland to supply to customers there.

Clearly there is still much more that can and will change between now and the end of December. All of our planning is based on a worst case scenario of significant barriers to trade but we remain hopeful that the situation will improve. In the meantime we will continue to closely monitor all developments. As any self-respecting mountain goat would tell you, when walking along a cliff face it is important to keep your eyes open and only make carefully planned steps forward.

If you would like any more information about our Brexit planning or if you are currently looking for how you can ensure you can get hold of Mediterranean and Mediterranean Inspired products in 2021 and beyond, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Futura Foods UK Ltd.
The Priory, Long Street, Dursley,
Gloucestershire GL11 4HR