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SMEs prepare for Brexit in 50 days

11 November 2020
by smeunited -- last modified 11 November 2020

SMEunited calls on its member organisations to step up preparatory actions for new EU - UK relations as of 1st January.


With Brexit entering into force in 50 days, SMEs should speed up their readiness for the new trade situation, including new customs rules, transport requirements, phytosanitary tests, etc. SMEunited voices once more concerns on the short remaining period, especially for SMEs now also affected by the pandemic.

SMEunited warns that many SMEs might struggle to deal with the status to come in the EU-UK relationship. For many of them tackling the economic impact of Covid19 remains the priority in the following months.

In its Declaration published in July, SMEunited emphasised the need to establish a clear framework that safeguards trade in goods and services under conditions of fair competition. As mentioned, SMEs need a level-playing field, ensuring a common standards strategy, the minimisation of custom barriers and the constant cooperation between EU-UK authorities.

It is important that adequate information is made accessible for SMEs to help them prepare for the end of the transition period. As of 1 January 2021 the way the UK border operates will change dramatically. To be able to assist SMEs in this process, members of SMEunited participated in a webinar organised by the UK Mission to the EU. Speakers walked participants through the GB-EU BOM (Border Operating Model), in particular on customs, prior online declarations, labelling or sanitary and phytosanitary border requirements.

The end of the transition period will have major consequences for European businesses trading with the UK and vice versa. It is necessary that entrepreneurs and companies be ready for the changes in tax and customs procedures, amongst other things. We encourage and support SMEs to stay informed about the steps they need to take within the 50 days ahead and to contact their national competent authorities in this respect. SMEunited is raising awareness among its membership by sharing information compiled by the European Commission (e.g.: readiness notices, guides for businesses, etc) and the UK government (e.g.: UK Border Operating Model, etc).

SMEunited, formally known as UEAPME, is the association of crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited is a recognised employers' organisation and European Social Partner and acts on behalf of crafts and SMEs in the European Social Dialogue and in discussions with the EU institutions.