After months of certainty over the shape of a future Brexit deal or the alarming prospect of no deal at all, a final agreement between the UK Government and the European Union was announced on Christmas Eve. In Walpole’s first webinar of the year, CEO Helen Brocklebank and Charlotte Keesing, Walpole’s Director of Corporate and International Affairs were joined by an expert panel to discuss what the new deal means for British luxury, how businesses are preparing for the months ahead and responding to this new era, and establishing new relationships with existing trading partners.
Russell Antrim, Head of EU Negotiations at the CBI
Iain Prince, Associate Partner, Operational Transformation and Supply Chain at KPMG
Lorenzo Rossetti, Director KPMG UK Trade & Customs Practice at KPMG.
As the single most integrated sector throughout Europe, luxury’s complex supply chains are fundamental to the business model — so there was palpable relief at a Brexit deal announcement on Christmas Eve. However, such relief was bittersweet at the implications hit home.
Key principles outlined in the 1,000+ page document show how far the trade deal will affect businesses on every level and introduce layers of complexity, directly or over the long-term. Primarily focused on product, with services to be considered in coming months, it nevertheless introduces a 90-day limit on European travel and new rules around data storage that hint at the upheaval to come. Physically, port disruption, customs declarations and shipping flows are the most immediate and visceral effects on import/export.
For Russell Antrim, Head of EU Negotiations at the CBI, questions remain regarding how EU members will deal with their borders – will it be compliance over flow or vice versa? The jury’s out, but the pragmatic approaches of the first week may not be an indicator of what’s to come.
Elsewhere, commercial invoicing and VAT require careful scrutiny, explained Lorenzo Rossetti, Director KPMG UK Trade & Customs, who also noted the immense challenges posed by Rules of Origin, given Europe’s integrated supply and distribution chains.
Iain Prince, Associate Partner, Operational Transformation and Supply Chain at KMPG suggested the ‘three Ps’: following the Physical product flow, getting the Paperwork right and looking at Payment elements. The panel agreed that the bigger ongoing question, though, will be around how we remain dynamic and competitive within this new environment. The UK will have to reinvent itself, and gain a deep understanding of where its businesses add value. The way luxury businesses trade will inevitably change over the next 12 months but, agree the panel, within that challenge there are huge opportunities for the sector to embrace.
To watch the full webinar, please click here.
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