To be absolutely honest, I'm actually a bit concerned.

I think this is a double-edged sword.

On one hand, businesses that have been struggling to get ready now have a bit more time to prepare. And that's great.

On the other, as I told Sky News and @ChrisHorseman2 earlier today, constant delays and changing deadlines are creating a situation where it's getting harder and harder for businesses to keep track of what's changing and when.

Meaning it's becoming really easy to miss something.

And we do have serious deadlines approaching. For example, Jan 2022 when customs controls will be introduced and full customs declarations will be due at the time of import.

The risk is that with all the coverage of yet another set of Brexit extensions and delays companies will simply stop preparing for the upcoming changes.

Or that they will assume this deadline will also be postponed (which is actually quite possible).

And all this is happening at a time when customs compliance is at an all-time low in the UK (fine, maybe not all-time, maybe just the last couple of decades).

Companies are confused. HMRC is losing revenue.

And on top of all that, I still don't think enough is being done to support companies in preparing for these changes.

The guidance is still hard to navigate and not quite user-friendly.

So further delays, supposedly because businesses aren't ready (Gov claims they're on track although that doesn't quite seem to be the case 👇) - what will a couple of extra months change?

We know that the Gov still thinks the EU will blink on SPS but even then some of the delayed formalities and checks will need to be implemented (also that's not a likely outcome).

What's missing for me, what's been missing from mid-2020, is an outline of how the Gov is going to use the extra few months to provide additional support to companies struggling to get ready for the upcoming changes.

We had the SMEs grant. That was great.
But we need better guidance, better training sessions (been to a couple of these Gov webinars and they are not particularly in-depth, and all technical questions are met with - let me run this by an internal team and get back to you).

Yes, companies need to do their part. At the end of the day, it's their responsibility to get ready.

But how do you convince companies to act when there is no stick and no carrot?

Basically, it's hard to treat this last-minute extension as something more than yet another Brexit delay.

I hope companies will continue to prepare. Those that haven't will start to think about upcoming deadlines (even if they are likely to change too).


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More from @AnnaJerzewska

14 Sep
Ok so a lot of this was very much expected.

Important message - full customs declarations and checks still planned for 1 Jan 2022.
This means companies still need to get ready as postponed declarations will no longer be possible. And given the current level of compliance, there is a lot of work to be done in the next few months.
Read 4 tweets
13 Sep
Speaking of customs compliance and border controls.

Received a reply this morning from one of these companies advertising their products on social media. Their website doesn't mention customs duties so wanted to check who covers them and where they ship from.

They responded to say they ship from China and I shouldn't worry about customs duties or import VAT as less than 1% of their customers report that customs opened the package and charged taxes.

That basically means that they declare their products as something else (0% duty and perhaps even lower VAT rate) and hope for the best. And clearly manage to get away with it.

And are also confident enough to talk about it openly...

Read 5 tweets
11 Sep
This week, @davidallengreen's question of whether an FTA was worthwhile got me thinking of how FTAs have changed over time.

A🧵with a lot of questions and very few answers.

Back in the day (15/20/25 y ago) such questions were rarely asked.
The interpretation of “substantially all trade” was the name of the game and Singapore issues (gov procrm, TF, investment and competition) were still optional and not something that was included in all FTAs.

The debate focused on Bhagwati’s stepping stones, @BaldwinRE's tit-for-tat or home magnification effect.

Questions on “fairness”, if at all asked, were mostly limited to tariffs. But there was also less of an expectation that FTAs would be fair/worthwhile for both sides.

Read 12 tweets
10 Sep
So Oct Brexit deadlines might be postponed.

Not really surprising.

As always with these delays, it's hard to tell whether the main reason is that the companies aren't ready and the gov is concerned about shortages

Or is it simply because the gov isn't ready, the processes aren't in place and the infrastructure isn't there.

The other worrying aspect of that is that this is becoming a default response

Our borders are virtually open, compliance is a question of preference yet the gov continues to be somewhat reluctant to implement checks.

Perhaps this is less of a delay and accident and more of a strategy. Perhaps the view is we don't actually need compliance.

Read 6 tweets
31 Aug
When costs increase there are various ways for companies (e.g. supermarkets) to respond to it without necessarily increasing prices - mostly temporary.

The pressure on profit margins increases and even if it can be spread across the entire supply chain if that situation continues and if costs continue to rise, at some point something's got to give.

Here the problem is that the extra costs are not going away (new formalities and requirements) AND there are new costs coming up (introduction of full formalities and checks on the UK side).

It's not sustainable.

Read 6 tweets
2 Aug
It's a bit off topic but my recent glacier hike reminded me of how quickly glaciers are disappearing.

And it's a shame cause they are incredible.

So just a little reminder of how bad things are.

In the last 100 years, Alpine glaciers lost over 50% of their surface area. And this process is accelerating.

Some studies suggest that there won’t be any glaciers below 3500m by 2050.

One of the best examples is another famous glacier - Mer de Glace in Chamonix.

Just look at how quickly it's disappearing


Read 6 tweets

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