Watch the webinar
- John Foster, Director of Policy and Communications, CBI
- Denise Valin Alvarez, Director or Global trade Compliance, Burberry
- Joe McDonald, Corporate Affairs Manager, NI, ASDA
- Jeff May, Director of Government Relations and Business Development, Construction Product Association
- Liz Moseley, Editor and Partner, Tortoise Media (Chair)
Lots of positive news over the weekend: dropping infection rates and deaths. This is raising questions about the pace of re-opening and over the weekend Lord Bilimoria called on the Govt to ‘show its hand’ on some key outstanding issues including international travel, covid status certificates and the social distancing review.
In addition, the situation in India is distressing but we have seen a huge response from business community. If you can help please contact: email@example.com
On Brexit: The TCA was ratified last week so we have a deal - while not perfect it’s something we can work with. Has fundamentally changed how we trade in goods - and while firms could prepare in some areas they faced some surprises, too, including Rules of Origin, ‘Bilateral Cumulation’ and bureaucracy when it comes to SPS checks. Many firms are asking -is still worth it to export to the countries we did before? Also concerns about UK competitiveness in the event businesses opt out of our supply chains.
Data is telling a real stark picture - ONS trade data stats for Jan were a historic low - our own surveys found in Feb/March that 2/3 manufacturers have seen delays at borders and in Jan and Feb this year - 20% all SPS checks in the EU took place in NI.
- First reflection is on the length of the journey
- 5 years later and we’re still waiting on the new operating model to kick in. Uncertainty throughout has been the biggest challenge throughout
- how do you invest in solutions when the problem is still being negotiated? Felt this tension throughout 2020 and still ended up with cliff edges.
- But retailers embraced the challenge, industry has been agile and worked well with Govt departments.
- Ambition is for customers to prevent price rises and ensure availability and doing well so far.
- Two worlds colliding - EU and all its structures and thick rule book – which wasn’t written with complex supply chains like those of ASDA in mind.
- But positive - there are solutions and ways to make this work, including the possibility of a veterinary agreement, and whether we make this process digital? See ourselves as no risk to the single market.
Represent manufacturers and distributors of construction products e.g., roofs, paints – all parts involved in the build environment. As a sector have been grappling with lots of issues but were able to work closely with the Govt to enable safe operation procedures – HS2 or someone come to fix your boiler in your home that was possible.
Issues around Brexit were mainly around logistics and supply chains and very frustrated by the lack of clarity on some issues - but now at a good point and dealing with only a handful of issues that weren’t agreed at Christmas.
Now having to create a new ‘UK Reach’ from scratch and problems with new British CA mark on products – will all products that previously had CE marks be able to get a CA mark? Worst case scenario – which already hearing – lots of businesses are not certain they will have necessary CA mark on their products and so making decisions about pulling products from UK market. E.g., Architect accustomed to having a certain product can no long access this, or repairs suddenly more expensive - probably the burning issue (deadline end of the year). A very 'wonkish' argument as it's very complex - even for experts!
Denise Valin Alvarez:
Burberry as a global business set up working groups and compare with other International FTA agreements they have to comply with. From a practical perspective we organised for stock to be in country for 1 January as an important month for retail and also ran simulations around that might happen so when the border operation model was published Burberry were able to kick into gear.
Fallout from the TCA for Burberry: did experience delays in both delays across the border and some issues around customs clearances in some countries.
Rules of origin for fashion and textiles are difficult to comply with due to the way raw materials move around to make goods so have had to expand trade compliance team to navigate new regulations.
We now have an increase in regulatory requirements and very country specific – Spain have very specific requirements on beauty and sunglasses imports! So when you’re looking to bring new products into a market – don’t make the assumption that all member states have the same requirements.