On April 10, 2019, the latest Brextension was formalised with the EU offering the UK a six-month Brexit delay, pushing the withdrawal date to Halloween. This six-month extension was a compromise solution which stopped the clock on a no-deal withdrawal occurring at the end of the first Brexit-extension in April 2019.
The UK agreed with the EU by extending Article 50 until October 31 2019 at the latest, whereby during the course of the extension, the UK will continue to hold full membership rights as well as its obligations. The EU has agreed that the extension can be terminated if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified within the UK. If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by both parties before 31 October, the withdrawal will take place on the first day of the following month i.e. Brexit could occur on July 1st, August 1st, September 1st, October 1st or most likely October 31st (which incidentally is the only date on which a no deal exit could happen).
As the UK did not ratify the Withdrawal Agreement by the 22 May 2019, they were legally obliged to hold European Parliamentary Elections on May 24th.
Although Parliament has rejected leaving without a deal multiple times, no deal remains the legal default at the end of the extension period if a deal cannot be agreed. If the Withdrawal Agreement can be agreed, this offers a time-limited implementation period providing a bridge to the future relationship and common rules will remain in place i.e. businesses trade on the same terms as now until the end of 2020.
A lot has been said and written on GDPR. At a time when we are just beginning to grasp the fact that ICT cannot be without GDPR, mainly due to the ‘consent’ email bombardment, comes Brexit and the uncertainty of it in relation to GDPR as it is an EU regulation. People and businesses are asking ‘’what will GDPR be like post Brexit?’’ Fortunately, a lot of articles have been written and discussions are going on from different perspectives, GDPR post Brexit won’t be a scenario of ‘’ how to manage your expectations during the first few days, weeks, months of dating’’ rather it is a subject of forward looking, information gathering, be in the know of suggested options especially for companies dealing in B2C or even B2B in case data management dealings don’t go according to plan.
Before going further, here is a brief recap on GDPR for those who need it. In the beginning, the European Union adopted the DGPR (2016) as an EU law on Data protection to provide privacy for all individuals in the EU and the EEA. The regulation which became enforceable beginning of May 2018 has two main priorities, to; give individuals control over their personal data and, to; simplify the regulatory environment for international businesses by unifying the regulation within the EU. GDPR also addresses export of personal data outside the EU and EEA. With Brexit in sight, this is where GDPR post Brexit questions arises, with UK about to become a third country, will the Britain abide by GDPR? What guarantees are there in terms of data privacy? – Whether in terms of B2C or B2B. Individually, people and businesses alike are researching the topic and informing those who are anxious.
Looking for Answers
Questions and answers have been suggested, with the amount of
publications on the topic, we are becoming bombarded again. My opinion is to
answer GDPR questions whatever perspective, we must go to the heart of GDPR –
the principles (the core conditions that governs the regulation GDPR (2016/679)
especially the 7th “Accountability”.
ICO wrote about GDPR principles, to be;
fairness and transparency,
and confidentiality (security),
Monique Magalhaes of Techgenix, in January 2018 wrote and highlighted that – ‘’organisations need to follow these principles when collecting, processing and managing European citizens personal information regardless of whether the business is in EU or elsewhere in the world.’’ I believe this explanation applies to Britain once it becomes third country.
According to another website tripwire.com; there might be a
common misapprehension which might be a wishful thinking for some British
businesses who don’t want the hassle of achieving GDPR compliance, thinking
that UK businesses might not need to comply with GDPR post Brexit as it is an
EU regulation. The fact is, currently the UK adopted all the rules of the GDPR
into the Data Protection Act 2018 – which means that UK businesses will have to
continue complying with the GDPR after Brexit and those that deal with EU
citizens have to comply with GDPR directly.
Important for UK businesses to remember; compliance
with the key principles is a paramount building block for good data protection
practice for those involved. Failure to comply with the principles may lead to
substantial fines. Article 83(5) (a) states that infringements of the basic
principles for processing personal data are subject to the highest tier of administrative
fines. This means a fine of up to €20 million, or 4% of your total worldwide
annual turnover, whichever is higher.
Brian Honan of independent.ie writes; GDPR and Brexit
will potentially bring many challenges to organisations over the coming years,
but proper planning and keeping abreast of how talks regarding data protection
post-Brexit will help keep on top of those challenges. This suggests that
businesses and the concerned alike need to keep eyes open for the future is
With two years negotiation period since the 2016
Referendum and two further years expected with the transition period, there
have been many helpful tools and supports developed to aid businesses navigate
the Brexit quagmire. Many of these helpful tools and supports are available
free-of-charge, more are highly subsidised or grant-aided while some paid
solutions exist also.
As a starting point, Arvo have a range of Brexit specific
tools, templates, reports and insights available online here. If you have any queries on these
Arvo Tools, feel free to email [email protected] for a prompt response.
While Arvo are aware of many third-party tools and solutions also to support your Brexit risk management, with a selection outlined as follows
Brexit Helpful Tool
Brexit SM Scorecard (EnterpriseIreland)
A Starting Point to help businesses to begin preparing a strategy and ready their teams in terms of planning and shinning a spotlight on some of the key operational areas that may be exposed.
In addition to the above tools/systems, there is a plethora of information available online with downloadable Templates, Documents and Files from many organisations such as those listed below. Many of these organisations also provide Brexit financial supports, experts, grants and initiatives available to assist most businesses through this unprecedented economic event e.g.
Enterprise Ireland has a wide range of supports, including free Online Courses and Webinars, and fully-funded and partly-funded Consultancy engagements, to enable Irish businesses to take critical action and address their exposure to Brexit
IntertradeIreland offers 2 Vouchers to provide financial support to help understanding Brexit, Online Courses to help SMEs to prepare for Brexit and beyond, also Tariff Checkers and Events that offer information and Topics about Brexit, advises and outcomes.
Invest Northern Ireland offers an Online assessment tool, Regional Workshops a financial assistance in form of a Preparation Grant and a one-stop resource of best practice guides, information advice and support to help in preparing for Brexit on their Brexit website.
Bord Bia offer a Supply Chain Mentoring Program, to identify key challenges with clients supply chain and export markets. Regional Customs Training, which aims to provide practical training on the basic principle and requirements of customs, tariffs and non-EU trade. A Dublin Custom Training trains Clients in all aspects of customs and tariffs management. A Currency Risk Training prepares for buyer negotiations and new business arising from non-Eurozone market opportunities. Supply Chai Workshops are offered too.
SBCI in partnership with the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) offers a Brexit Loan Scheme. The Loan can be used for future working capital requirements, or to fund innovation, change or adaption of the business to mitigate the impact of Brexit.
Local Enterprise Office offers a Currency Risk Management Booklet, a Customs Insight Course, the InterTradeIreland Start to Plan Voucher Scheme, the Brexit SME Scorecard Online Tool, A Brexit Loan Scheme, a Brexit Mentor Programme, the Enterprise Europe Network, Trading Online Voucher Schemes, Training and Management Development Courses, Microfinance Loan, Micro Lean, Co-Innovate Programme, Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters.
As you know by now, European President Jean-Claude Juncker had a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May last Friday morning to agree a historic deal defining the terms of Britain’s divorce from the EU. If all that was agreed on December 8th comes to pass, the UK has essentially committed to a soft Brexit.
Ireland has done well in Phase 1 of the Brexit negotiations, including preserving the Common Trade Area, protecting the Good Friday Agreement and, crucially, obtaining a guarantee that there will be no hard border. It is now for the European Council to decide today if sufficient progress has been made to allow the negotiations to proceed to Phase 2, which is a significant step forward in the process leading towards UK withdrawal from the EU in March 2019. It is expected that a transition period would last two years ensuring Britain will remain part of the customs union and single market (including being subject to EU law) until 2021.
Thereafter, the risks and unknowns for your business need to be carefully considered. Most proactive businesses have started to document Brexit assumptions within their Brexit action plans, supporting their planning and strategy work. Whether importing directly or indirectly from the UK, the impacts to your operating model, supplier base, cost base and working capital requirements needs to de analysed, to understand where the areas of greatest risk are (so as to develop suitable mitigating actions to reduce the impact of Brexit on your business).
Specifically focusing on your supply-base and imports, can you answer the following 5 questions to identify risks and resilience steps for your business?
What suppliers will impact the business most if they cannot supply you tomorrow?
Do you know what % of your goods and services are coming directly or indirectly from the UK?
Have you researched alternative non-UK suppliers?
Are there contracts, licenses or regulations restricting your global sourcing strategies?
Are you aware of the potential additional costs to import from Europe in terms of hubbing, logistics partners, Minimum Order Quantities plus the impact on cash flow?