The main points which you, as small business owners, should be aware of and prepare for are: Personal data We’ve just recently dealt with the massive changes in data protection law brought about by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the e-Privacy Regulation (the ‘cookies law’) is due to come into force during 2019. As part of the EU data protection framework, companies are not permitted to transfer personal data outside of the EU unless there is a legal basis for doing so, and unless there is an equivalent data protection regime in place. The UK will, of course, be of an equivalent standard to the rest of the EU, having just implemented GDPR. However, if the UK and the EU do not agree on how to deal with data protection moving forward, EU countries may be unable to transfer personal data to the UK Competition rules When it comes to competition and preventing certain bigger companies adopting and abusing dominant market positions, the UK enforces the EU’s rules. Following Brexit, the UK Competition and Markets Authority will be responsible for dealing with competition issues. It’s not clear that the UK will continue to apply similar rules to the EU. Shipping Currently, ships arriving into the UK from the EU, and vice versa, are not required to provide docking documentation. However, if no Brexit deal regarding shipping is made, then ships coming from the UK and arriving in EU docks will be required to submit security information and obtain an exemption from docking. In addition, UK staff on EU ships will no longer hold the correct certificates to work on those boats.
It is unclear how the EU intends to deal with this situation. The UK Government has confirmed that it will continue to recognise EU workers on UK ships as having the correct documentation. Car manufacturing Car manufacturers are likely to experience some issues with regulation. UK car manufacturers will need to apply to the EU authorities to prove that they comply with EU safety and environmental standards. Otherwise, UK car manufacturers will be unable to sell cars or parts into the EU. The UK Government has confirmed in the notice that it will convert EU approvals to UK approvals for a certain period following Brexit, which means this issue is removed for EU manufacturers selling into the UK. But whether this is reciprocated by the EU for UK manufacturers remains to be seen. Driving If anyone in your business is required to drive within the EU following Brexit, bear in mind that if there is no deal, the UK driving licence will not permit UK citizens to drive within the EU. They are likely to require an international driving permit. Mobiles An important one for businesses with employees working from within the EU and using their mobile phones to do so. There are currently no roaming charges for phones within the EU. However, this is unlikely to remain the case.
The UK Government has confirmed there will be a cap on data roaming charges that can be charged by network providers; however, the level of this cap has not yet been confirmed. Safety standards for goods Currently, all goods sold within the EU are subject to the same set of rules and regulations in terms of quality. If the UK and the EU cannot decide on how goods should be regulated between them, then UK manufacturers will be required to comply with the standards of each individual EU country before selling into that country. An administrative burden currently avoiding by UK manufacturers. Goods testing will also need to be conducted by an EU body, rather than a UK body, as that UK body will not be recognised by the EU.
Make sure you're prepared We would advise that businesses take these points into consideration when considering their plans and budgets for dealing with Brexit, as well as keep a watching brief on how matters develop between the UK and the EU. To consult with the author of this article, LawBrief lawyer Barbara Jamieson, or if you require any assistance with your Brexit scenario planning, please do not hesitate to get in touch for expert business legal advice. You can submit an enquiry for a free 15-minute consultation or call our friendly Client Care Team on 020 7148 1066.
Journey further… Cookies Law, ePrivacy Brexit Impact Series Part 1 Brexit Impact Series Part 2