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  • Brexit & Beyond… International Trade & SMEs

    24 September 2018

    Andy Wood


    Although we’re just five months from the UK’s formally exiting the European Union, the terms upon which that withdrawal takes place are, of course, still undetermined.

    Negotiations between Brussels and London have been referred to as an attempt to reach a divorce agreement.

    However, talks about whether there’s to be a hard, ‘no-deal’ Brexit or something rather more constructive are proving as difficult as all but the most extreme marital collapse, dogged by personality clashes, point-scoring and uncertainty.

    It might, therefore, come as no surprise that the business community is not inclined to wait and see the details of what the continent’s politicians can agree before deciding upon its plans.

    As I’ve been telling Neil Hodgson of Business Desk North West, myself and my colleagues have seen a 25 per cent rise in small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) asking for advice about how best to set up foreign offices in order to dodge the worst potential effects of Brexit and continue trading with overseas’ partners in an uninterrupted manner.

    These companies cover a wide range of sizes (sole traders to businesses with multi-million pound turnovers) and industrial sectors – everything from professional services, property, health and retail.

    All are, in my opinion, rightly concerned about what the post-EU future is going to be like.

    They are adamant that they don’t want to see trade impeded and profits swallowed up by tariffs.

    That position has additionally been brought into sharp relief with the publication of new data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    Just as we at Enterprise Tax Consultants have reported, the ONS illustrates how Britain’s foreign trade is considerable with companies exporting a “surprisingly wide” range of products and services.

    While a sizeable proportion of sales involved business with other EU countries – £152.3 billion, a rise of 24 per cent on the year before – just under half (£166.8 billion) was accounted for by non-EU states (view source).

    The figures underline what firms have been telling us even before the results of the Brexit referendum were announced; namely, the prospects of trade being hampered are too terrible to contemplate, especially as warnings about the risk of the world’s economy tipping into another recession are becoming increasingly frequent (read more).

    Given the demands for assistance and the imminent October deadline established by the EU for Brexit talks to be concluded, we have decided to host a special event this Thursday [September 27th] in Stockport to provide SME businesses and their advisers with some guidance about how best they might join the volume of counterparts looking to insulate themselves from Brexit by expanding overseas.

    Registration for the session is completely free and will concentrate on the main issues which companies need to bear in mind before taking such a decision.

    Whilst there are CPD points into the bargain for professional attendees, I have no doubt that it’s the opportunity to learn more how to ride out the consequences of Brexit which will prove to be of far bigger appeal.

    Enterprise Tax Consultants can advise on all aspects Brexit including changes to VAT and taxation on the whole…

    Learn more about Brexit & SMEs here by beating the brexit blues with investments and also learn about global to local SME growth here