A Never Ending story ?
When transition ends on 31 December, the UK will automatically drop out of the EU's main trading arrangements (the single market and the customs union).
The single market means that countries share the same rules on product standards and access to services, whereas the customs union is an agreement between EU countries not to charge taxes (tariffs) on each other's goods.
However, if a new UK-EU trade deal is not agreed in time then tariffs and border checks would be applied to UK goods travelling to the EU - under the rules of the World Trade Organization. The UK also decides what tariffs and checks to impose on EU goods.
Tariffs would make UK goods more expensive and harder to sell in the EU, while full border checks could cause long delays at ports.
Failure to reach a deal would also result in the UK service industry losing its guaranteed access to the EU. This would affect everyone from bankers and lawyers, to musicians and chefs.
Even if a trade deal is reached, it would not eliminate all checks - so UK businesses will need to prepare.
As well as trade, other aspects of the future relationship - including fishing access and security co-operation - also need to be signed off. If not, then no-deal plans will be needed in these areas for 1 January.
Any trade deals the UK strikes with non-EU countries will be allowed to start from 1 January (ie once the UK has left the EU customs union). Brexit supporters have long argued that allowing the UK freedom to set its own trade policy will benefit the economy - although critics say it's more important to remain close to the EU.
Brexit Forward-looking statement
We cannot know what BREXIT will mean to any of us. But I am not so sure we need to worry about it so much on its own. So when we are asked what are plans for a no deal exit and whether our customers need to be worried about Brexit on its own, I am full of confidence.
We certainly cannot predict what deal will be struck with any sort of certainty. When we are asked what our "Brexit" plans are vs a No deal we can only point out that these all based on forward-looking statements against a situation that on balance is not at all frightening. Truth be told, there are no certainties or promises - how can there be ?
What Next ?
Are some simply barking up the wrong tree at an imaginary Brexit squirrel who is actually long gone?
Have they been focusing on the squirrel, when the wider issues to our industry are even bigger?
Those threats are not hiding up the tree at all. Its on the ground, now. It is the life threatening, financial ruining, recession driving menace of COVID-19 and it is staring right at us, entirely impassible and absolutely unafraid
Brexit is nothing compared to this beast.
If the COVID-19 situation taught us all anything it is this. People are odd. You can tell people that everything is okay, but they will still surprise you with what they do. You also cannot predict what they will do collectively if they think its a good thing. It is people you need to be careful of in the coming months. I can't help but have this vision of that dog barking up a tree, entirely assured its right, but long since wrong.
So yes, in direct response to (Brexit), our shelves are currently full, everything is ticking over, and we have invested everything we have into making sure we have stock ready for it. If we have a rush on certain lines, it is only natural for those lines to be under pressure, but we can deal with it.
My advice ? stop worrying about Brexit, turn around from the tree and face the threat on the ground. If you need more stock, put aside a little more space and just get some, if you need more support, ask for it early.
Brexit never killed anyone, Brexit wont force our clinics to shut, isolated us at home or made us want to stand outside and clap for our heroes. Brexit is simply not as big a deal as that which we are already facing.
Remember we are all dealing with this years crazy events just fine. It has been tough and scary but we made it didn't we? I am proud of industries and our partners resolve. Keep going people, please don't stress too much, we are all in safe (clean) hands.
Stay safe, take care