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Will a no-deal Brexit sink my business?

PUBLISHED: 09:16 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:16 16 October 2019

Businesses across the UK face an uncertain future as Brexit rumbles on. Photo: PA.

Businesses across the UK face an uncertain future as Brexit rumbles on. Photo: PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Business owners across Norfolk and Suffolk would be forgiven for having a pessimistic outlook on life post-Brexit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: PA.Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: PA.

Since the referendum result the only consistent message offered up to the sector seems to be confusion.

This is not about arguing over promises on buses. Not about lingering fears about immigration. And not about the internal spats of the Tory party. By and large bosses excepted the result but were left terrified over the handling of the negotiations.

After all, the fate of British businesses rests in the hands of a man who infamously quipped "f**k business".

But with Boris Johnson at the wheel anything is possible.

Businesses across the UK face an uncertain future as Brexit rumbles on. Photo: PA.Businesses across the UK face an uncertain future as Brexit rumbles on. Photo: PA.

As time ticked on a no-deal scenario appeared to be the most likely outcome - but just as the deal appears dead a jolt of life emerges.

If an agreement cannot be reached the Uk would immediately leave the European Union overnight on October 31 without a transition period - and most importantly for businesses without a new UK-EU trade deal.

EU law will no longer apply and all trade will be regulated on international principles such as those from the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

As a result, the EU will apply third country rules to the UK and businesses trading in Europe are likely to suffer as tariffs increase and fresh customs controls and checks on goods are introduced.

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The majority of businesses exporting goods to the EU will have to contend with new taxes - placing firms in a difficult situation.

If they absorb the rising cost themselves, to keep their prices competitive in Europe, they risk diminishing their profit margin.

However, simply passing on the costs to their European consumers could price them out of the market all together.

Trading under WTO regulations is also expected to create major delays in the transportation of goods in and out of Europe.

Regular gridlock is predicted at the UK's ports as border checks create bottlenecks of lorries transporting goods and firm's will have to factor in this additional time when planning orders.

This extra time inevitably increases the costs of transporting the goods and once again UK businesses will suffer.

But the truth of the matter is that no-one really knows what a no-deal Brexit could mean. Undoubtedly some firms would seize the opportunities created by a relaxation of rules.

But even those who could benefit from a hard exit from the EU have not been able to prepare as politicians have offered up ever-shifting promises, new deadlines and general chaos.


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