Get set for new trade rules – and give your business a boost

BUSINESS owners are being urged to step up preparations for new trading rules with Europe – after almost 90 per cent told a Sun survey they didn’t know how the end of the UK transition period would affect them.

As we celebrate a new year on 1 January, we will also exit the EU single market and customs union (officially at 11pm on 31 December), and a raft of changes to the way we do business with Europe will come into place.

But The Sun’s Facebook poll of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) reveals that 89 per cent of SME bosses aren’t sure what the changes will mean for their company. And 78 per cent admitted they didn’t even know 31 December 2020 was the date the transition period finishes.

And given that the UK’s six million SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy, it’s vital they can continue trading smoothly into next year.

If you import or export to Europe, travel there for work or employ EU citizens, there are steps you must take immediately to ensure business operations carry on seamlessly in January 2021 and beyond. The good news is that by visiting the Government’s dedicated transition website you’ll have all the information you need at your fingertips.

There’s a tick box checker tool that takes five minutes to fill in – your answers will guide you to any new regulations that affect your business.

Only 11 per cent of those in The Sun’s Facebook poll had visited the transition website, so with less than two weeks before the new rules kick in, it makes sound business sense to log on today.

“Small business owners should be consulting the Government’s site, as well as our own dedicated hub,” says James Sibley, head of international affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Explore the FSB transition hub here.

Get your motor running

The UK’s automotive industry exports engines, components and vehicles worldwide. There are thousands of small and medium automotive businesses in the UK – if you run one of them, get up to speed with the new regulations in four easy stages:

  • Visit uk to identify changes for manufactured goods, such as new marking requirements.
  • Visit uk to get ready to make customs declarations.
  • Check UK and EU chemical regulations if you manufacture, import or export chemicals.
  • Check the latest guidance for moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland.

Prepare for take off

The aerospace sector has had a bumpy ride in 2020 but it’s an industry that’s at the forefront of innovation in the UK. Most businesses in the sector are classed as microbusinesses – companies with fewer than ten employees. For a turbulence-free transition, aerospace business owners should:

  • Visit the Government website to identify changes for manufactured goods, such as new certification requirements.
  • Get ready to make customs declarations – see uk.
  • Check UK and EU regulations to manufacture, import or export chemicals.
  • Check the latest guidance on moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland.

Keep your company healthy

The life sciences sector, harnessing biology and technology to advance healthcare around the world, is also key to the health of the UK economy. Microbusinesses are at the sector’s heart. To prepare for 1 January 2021, business owners in the sector should visit to identify changes for manufactured goods, such as new regulatory requirements, and to get ready to make customs declarations. They should also check new rules on importing and exporting products between Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the EU.

Get down to business

The professional and business services (PBS) sector supports every area of our national life – incorporating, for example, law, accountancy, architecture and human resources amongst many others. To ensure it’s business as usual from 1 January 2021, businesses in this sector should:

  • Get professional qualifications recognised by EU regulators to practise in the EU.
  • Check if visas or work permits are required for business travel to Europe.
  • Visit uk/using-personal-data-2021 to check changes to data protection rules.
  • Register as a licensed visa sponsor if they plan to recruit from overseas.

Look for your sector and check what you need to do here:


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