News & Insights

No-deal Brexit: How to prepare in the consumer goods sector?

Cathrine Ripley, head of our Commercial and Technology/IP department reviews the guidance issued by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on earlier this month about how the consumer goods sector may prepare in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Brexit and in particular the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit regularly prompt inflamed debate in Parliament as well as in businesses and communities across of the UK.

Many people have speculated about an apocalyptic scenario where all consumer goods would become unavailable and shop shelves would become empty.

Possibly in response to such speculation the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issued a guidance on 13 February 2019 on how the consumer goods sector may prepare for a no-deal Brexit. The BEIS guidance focuses on the following points:

  1. Importing and exporting goods from/to the EU: the BEIS advises the various stakeholders of this sector to get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number or to use an import/export agent to carry on any trading with EU counterparts.
  2. EU employees should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to carry on having the right to live, study and work in the UK after 31st December 2020.
  3. In relation to the regulations and standards of goods exported to the EU, and to minimise business disruption, BEIS advises manufacturers and distributors to start getting their products assessed and marked by an EU recognised conformity assessment body. UK exporters will need to ensure their products meet the national requirements of the first EU country they are exported to. They will then be able to make use of the mutual recognition principle and market their products in the rest of the EU.
  4. The BEIS guidance provides links to several trade associations’ websites (e.g. UK Fashion & Textile Association, British Footwear Association, National Association of Jewellers, etc.) which each provides further guidance and/or information about the implications of a no deal Brexit for their specific industries.

All UK businesses marketing their products in the EU marketplace will need to give some consideration to the arrangements outlined above if they intend to continue doing in the event of a no-deal Brexit. By way of assistance, the Government has created a self-assessment questionnaire which aims to help businesses in assessing what they will need to do in preparation of Brexit (