The decision made by the UK to leave the European Union – or ‘Brexit’ as it has become known – means that we must embrace the challenges that this change will present. Although the government has made assurances regarding Brexit, it’s still impossible to predict the final outcome. So that we can make sure our business is sustainable, we’ve developed several strategies to ensure the strongest possible outcome for our company as the transition away from EU membership takes place. Inevitably there’s still a great deal of uncertainty as the Brexit negotiations happen, and therefore our plans are intended to allow for a degree of flexibility in the interim period.
In the event of a no-deal exit, the UK has committed to ensure UK legislation replaces EU legislation via the EU Withdrawal Act, establish a UK regulatory framework and build domestic capacity to deliver the functions currently performed by ECHA. The legislation would preserve REACH as far as possible, while making technical changes that would need to be made because the UK has left the EU.
H Foster imports a significant percentage of products from outside the European Union. Our purchasing teams have been working closely with all our key suppliers to formulate contingency plans across our entire product range, and have increased our stock levels to three months minimum. We always closely monitor the buying patterns of our customers, and by working together we are confident that we can maintain our supply chain.
There has been a lot of speculation in the media about the possibility of congestion at British and EU ports in the immediate aftermath of Brexit. The speculation is based on the expected necessity for additional paperwork to be completed on goods transiting through the ports, the worst-case scenario being that there could be limited movement of goods between the UK and the EU for the months of December 2020 and January 2021.
We employ a multinational shipping agent, which we’ve worked with for many years; they take care of the logistics and custom clearance documentation. They hold AEO status, which is one of the options highlighted by the UK government to help reduce the risk of delays at the post-Brexit border.
In conclusion, we take a view that – working together with our suppliers, shipping agent and customers – we’ll be able to adapt and respond to any likely added complexities from Brexit, and as such we’ll embrace Brexit when it comes.