How AFD is planning for the outcome of Brexit

Brexit is set to dominate the business landscape even more over coming months. A great deal of uncertainty continues to exists regarding how the country will be affected. In particular, how will trading with European suppliers be affected in post Brexit Britain. At AFD, we are taking steps to ensure supply chains transition smoothly, to maintain our high service levels to customers.

How will Brexit affect AFD

Over the next few months the shape of the UK Customs landscape will change. You will be aware that agreement has still not been finalised with the EU. Currently Britain is committed to leave the EU on 29th March 2019. If this goes ahead there are two possible scenarios. The UK may leave with an exit deal in place, with a “continue as normal” transition period. Alternatively, no deal may be agreed leading to a so called “hard Brexit”.

In either case, it is still uncertain how trade with EU suppliers will be affected. Importing be delayed and costs may rise due to potential tariffs. Like the majority of UK businesses, we trade with suppliers in Europe. Our raised access flooring partner, Jansen Products is based in Belgium. Accordingly we have started planning for both possible outcomes. The most disruptive is undoubtedly the hard Brexit option.

What is hard Brexit

A hard BREXIT arrangement could see the UK give up full access to the single market and customs union, along. Initially, this would likely mean we would fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for trade with suppliers in the EU and rest of the world. In August 2018, the Government issued notices stating that businesses should consider “engaging the services of a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider to help.”

We can advise that AFD has put in place a strategic partnership to help minimise any potential disruption to supply. Our distribution partner has Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status. This will ensure that all statutory requirements are in place as soon as these requirements are identified. All possible scenarios are examined and implemented to ensure the smoothest of transitions. A UK version of the Union Custom Code is being drafted. AEO status distribution companies are at the heart of this new code, delivering benefits such as customs simplification, fewer physical and document checks at borders and a more efficient transit through borders.

AFD also remain committed to holding sufficient stock to enable ongoing supply of projects through this uncertain period. Our distribution centre in south east England holds extensive stocks of all of our key products. Stock levels will be continually re-assessed during the run up to Brexit and the period thereafter. This will ensure disruption of supply is avoided wherever possible.

We will issue an update once the terms of Brexit are agreed. For more information on exiting the EU, including preparations for “no deal” please visit the Government portal.

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