Articles

Considerations of a 'No-Deal Brexit'

by Helen Goddard FInstSCE

Many Members have asked us what the ISCE’s guidance is for the membership on Brexit and as Halloween looms, it looks increasingly likely that there will be a “NO DEAL”, hard, Brexit.

The ISCE is NOT a trade association and so does not have an official stance on how this will impact our industry or indeed any guidance. However, given the concern that the current uncertainty is generating, it is only right that we recognise and try to assist our membership.

We have complied a brief summary of an investigation into the latest Government guidance on the subject of “NO DEAL” Brexit and provide information and links for you below. It must be noted that this guidance was last updated in October 2018, which is somewhat disappointing but then of course we have had the added turmoil of Leadership elections.

This article is in 3 sections:

  1. General Business
  2. Industry Specific Issues
  3. Personal Member Considerations

From our reading we have the guidance to be rather generalised and of course caveated heavily with “seek professional advice”. So, here goes…

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General Business

Preparing your Business for Brexit
The Governments starter page is here but we would expect that most of our Member Companies will have found it already: https://www.gov.uk/business-uk-leaving-eu

Guidance on IP and Brexit
Currently the following IP types are covered by EU Regulations that will be replaced following a ‘No Deal” Brexit.

  • Trademarks: Will be upheld initially but renewals will be with a new UK system and additional protection across EU Countries will need to be applied for separately.
  • Patents: The current EU Patent Laws will be retained and enshrined in UK Law and so there is no change perceived.
  • Copyright: There are potentially serious implications for broadcasting of material not produced in the UK.
  • Exhaustion of IP: “goods placed on the UK market, after the UK has exited the EU, will not be considered exhausted in the EEA” “Businesses that wish to export IP-protected goods to the EEA that have already been legitimately put on the market in the UK, may need the rights holder’s consent.”

For further government advice on IP post Brexit:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ip-and-brexit-the-facts/ip-and-brexit

Providing a service
For individuals and UK Based companies that provide services, such as consultancy, into EEA (European Economic Area) there are some things to consider as it may not be business as usual as the UK government recognizes in its guidance documentation:

“UK businesses providing services in the EEA would no longer be covered by the EU Services Directive. As a result, countries in the EEA could treat them in the same way as they treat third country service providers. In many EEA countries, the regime for third countries has different requirements. This could result in additional legal and administrative barriers for UK firms, such as requirements based on nationality, re-submitting information to regulators and potential loss of access to any online portal to complete mandatory applications and licenses where this is only available to EEA nationals. The tangible impacts this would have on businesses will likely vary depending on sector and the Member State.”

For further government advice on qualified professionals providing a service:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/providing-services-including-those-of-a-qualified-professional-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/providing-services-including-those-of-a-qualified-professional-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

VAT
The government’s guidance on this subject is complicated and incomplete at this time. In general, it is suggested that the current ‘place of supply’ rules will continue to apply as of course the government is keen to continue receiving VAT income. For further guidance:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-for-businesses-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/vat-for-businesses-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

Exporting to the EU
UK manufacturers will lose their current ‘distributor’ status and become ‘importers’ which has a whole host of potential implications for equipment manufacturers both administratively and financially. Not least of all because the UK will no longer be able to provide CE Marks. The CE marking issue is addressed further in this article. There will of course be new arrangements for import and export duty’s applied on products crossing borders.

For the official guidance look here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exporting-and-importing-goods-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal

Industry Specific Issues

While trawling through the potential impact of ‘NO DEAL” Brexit, it would seem that our industry has not really come into focus for the civil servants who are preparing the official guidance. However, there is one area that we could find that may directly affect a particular subset of our Institute.

Broadcasting
If you or your company transmit broadcasts that are receivable in Europe, then you should look at the following to appreciate the potential complexities of a “No Deal” Brexit:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/broadcasting-and-video-on-demand-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/broadcasting-and-video-on-demand-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

CPR

Products that are CE marked, including those that conform to EN54, there is a potential sticky wicket as the EU Commission published the following the statement:

“Where economic operators hold certificates issued by a UK Notified Body prior to the withdrawal date and plan to continue placing the product concerned on the EU-27 market as from the withdrawal date, they are advised to consider either applying for a new certificate issued by an EU-27 Notified Body or arranging for a transfer – on the basis of a contractual arrangement between the manufacturer, the UK Notified Body, and the EU27 Notified Body of the file and the corresponding certificate from the UK Notified Body to an EU-27 Notified Body, which would then take over the responsibility for that certificate.”

The document issued by the EU Commission can be found here:
https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/industrial_products_en_1.pdf

The UK has lead the way in Voice Alarm integrity for as long as the concept of a such a system was conceived and consequently as world leading manufacturers and so as an Institute we must be concerned that one of the pillars of our industry is potentially at risk. There may well be serious financial implications for our market leaders to stay in the game and that would likely impact R&D budgets for the next generation of systems and transducers. We can only hope that the UK only Notified Bodies such as BRE have set up reciprocal arrangements with EU competitors.

Additional helpful links:

https://www.gov.uk/brexit

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prepare-to-use-the-ukca-mark-after-brexit

https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/about-bsi/uk-national-standards-body/standards-policy-on-the-uk-leaving-the-eu/

Personal Member Considerations

EU Nationals working in the UK
If you are an EU National living and working in our industry in the UK and intend to remain you must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme or to become a British Citizen by 30 June 2021.

The EU Settlement scheme can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

Application for British citizenship can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/permanent-residence-document-eu-eea/permanent-residence

Workplace Rights
The UK workplace rights will remain unchanged but if you are employed in an EU Country, you will need to determine if your current rights will be honoured. The Governments guidance on this can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/workplace-rights-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/workplace-rights-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

Travelling Rights
The Government guidance suggests that there will be no change to our rights to travel:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/passenger-consumer-rights-when-travelling-to-the-eu-after-brexit

Driving
This is a complicated matter, known only too well by our Vice President Gareth, who now has a wallet full of driving licenses! There is not only the issue of having a valid license but also the advisory notice from the RAC to have a physical Green Card insurance document.

The UK Government advice can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prepare-to-drive-in-the-eu-after-brexit

The RAC insurance advice is here:
https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/travel/driving-abroad/driving-in-the-eu-after-brexit/

Additional Information

Further Brexit related articles can be read here:

Alternatively, other industry related articles can be read here: