Our message to you is simple: Keep calm and carry on...
31st October remains the deadline for Brexit, although the extraordinary political situation in the UK means that predicting what is going to happen is close to impossible.
We remain focused on the logistics of moving furniture from our many factories in Europe to our customers mainly in the UK, as well as sending fabrics to our factories, and are naturally concerned about the impact Brexit will have on orders placed by our customers.
Whether or not we leave the EU with a deal, there are likely to be changes to import procedures, with the possibility of new administrative levies on goods and/or lorries entering the country.
If we leave the EU in an orderly manner, we hope these changes will be made in a controlled way; on the other hand, if we ‘crash’ out of the EU, it appears that the trading relationship between the UK and EU will revert to World Trade Organisation rules. We cannot be sure that this would not result in new import tariffs on furniture entering the country.
The Contract Chair Company will not pass on import tariffs charged on furniture that has been ordered by customers before Brexit.
It is suggested that lorries travelling from the European mainland will be stopped and their contents checked, resulting in delays. We believe such checks are unlikely, both because delays would be politically harmful and because delays would be likely to quickly become unmanageable, which would swiftly impact on many important parts of the economy. There have also been clear reassurances from the French at Calais, the customs authorities at Dover and UK politicians that lorries entering the country will not be stopped.
We predict that any new charges will be electronically charged directly on the importing company rather than physically on the carrier at the border.
It is the opinion of The Contract Chair Company that even a ‘no-deal’ Brexit will not significantly delay furniture being imported into the UK. Nonetheless we will be keeping a close eye on progress and, immediately after Brexit (whenever it occurs) we intend to increase lead times for furniture being imported from the continent and fabrics being sent to our suppliers. We expect this increase to be no more than a fortnight.
In the meantime we believe that it remains…business as usual.