2020 Annual Report

4 min read

Keeping up with Brexit

Since that historic day in June 2016, the UK’s departure from the EU has been far from straightforward.

“The twists and turns of the past four years have certainly kept us on our toes,” says Amanda Tickel, Deloitte’s Brexit lead.

“But with the transition period now certain to end on 31 December 2020, policy and guidance is rapidly being released and businesses are refocusing their attention on preparing for the UK’s future relationship with the EU and the rest of the world.”

Sharing insights

Our Brexit insights team helps organisations navigate the complexities arising as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

Made up of some of the brightest political and technical minds, the team comprises of people from across all areas of our firm, including experts in tax, audit and public policy, as well as full time advisers Raoul Ruparel OBE – former special adviser to the Prime Minister on Europe – and James Caldecourt – former special adviser at the UK’s Department for International Trade.

The team works closely with our specialists across both the private and public sectors in areas such as supply chain resilience, logistics, border readiness, trade policy and immigration, to design and implement preparations for the end of the transition period.

Alongside producing blogs and updates on the latest changes, their weekly webinars and round ups have around 10,000 subscribers and over 15,000 viewers from the UK, EMEA, Asia-Pacific and North America.

They have also hosted roundtables and events to connect different perspectives. One recent example included bringing together representatives, in sectors ranging from retail to aerospace, from London, Belfast and Dublin to discuss the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Helpful chat

To help the business community as a whole stay in the loop with the latest Brexit developments, the team has partnered with trade bodies such as the Institute of Directors (IoD) – the UK's largest membership organisation for business leaders.

By October 2019, the UK government had released over 600 pieces of guidance, covering multiple areas, to help businesses plan for a possible no-deal scenario, with guidance also produced by the European Commission and regulatory bodies.

The team worked with the IoD, on a grant-funded project, to help businesses of all sizes navigate and decipher this high volume of information by creating a ‘chat bot’ – an automated service using natural language processing and machine learning – to help answer pressing Brexit questions and provide guidance. With over 3,000 users in just three weeks, the service was free to use and available 24/7 on the homepage of the IoD website.

Jonathan Geldart, Director General at the IoD, explains: “The IoD worked with Deloitte to deliver a seamless and timely suite of answers on the Brexit preparation questions. This was designed to give not only our over 26,000 members access to the information they needed, but also to a much wider audience of predominantly SME directors who were searching for the facts they needed to address a myriad of issues and concerns.

“The work was high impact and elicited extraordinary engagement levels with our audience throughout the campaign.”

Going global

And of course, Brexit doesn’t just impact trade for UK and EU businesses.

“Anyone who trades into the UK will be affected, so it’s really important we work closely with our global network to make sure everyone is up to date with new customs formalities. And with the number of trade deals set to rise after Brexit, we’re seeing real interest from businesses right across the world, particularly in the US and Asia-Pacific, to learn more” says Richard Vitou, partner in Deloitte’s Global Trade Bureau.

It’s clear there are plenty of changes to get used to. One of those will be adapting to the new customs formalities to address the movements of goods from the EU.

The UK government is estimating an additional 205 million customs declarations will be filed annually. And, with 180,000 traders making customs declarations for the first time in January 2021, some may not know the process can actually be simplified – saving them both time and money.

“That’s why we recently launched the Global Trade Bureau, our dedicated customs compliance business. The Global Trade Bureau is exclusively focussed on supporting clients meet their customs compliance requirements, and to plan and prepare for additional complexities arising post Brexit,” Richard adds.

The team has around 20 experienced customs specialists, based in a dedicated office in Ipswich. Using technology, the Global Trade Bureau gathers data on movements of goods from clients and their supply chain partners through a secure electronic portal. It then prepares customs supplementary declarations using customs duty management and reporting software, and provides clients with a real-time visualisation of their trade data.

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