With Brexit on the horizon, North East manufacturing and business leaders gathered at Ramside Hall Hotel in County Durham to discuss the future of export once the UK leaves the EU.

Organised by accountancy and business advisory firm Tait Walker as part of its Export campaign, the Life After Brexit roundtable aimed to tackle the planning obstacles that the region’s businesses are facing and answer specific questions to help these businesses start preparing as soon as possible.

Due to the unclear future of Brexit, including the implications of both deal and no deal outcomes, and a lack of information given around changes to VAT, Customs and Duties, North East businesses are finding it difficult to fully prepare for the upcoming changes. At present, 62% of North East goods are exported to the EU and 57% are imported*, meaning that it couldn’t be more important for the region’s businesses to start planning the trade arm of their business now.

Key themes discussed at the roundtable included considering options such as customs AEO, inward processing and use of different ports, alongside highlighting potential issues of long-term contracts.

Chaired by Tait Walker partner Alistair Wilson, the roundtable was the second installment of the firm’s Export campaign and welcomed representatives from regional SMEs and large multinational corporates, alongside Tait Walker specialists including tax director Andrew Fitton and VAT expert Nigel Smith.

Senior customs duty manager, Lucy Sutcliffe, from Tait Walker’s MHA network was there to offer expert advice and share her extensive industry knowledge from a career at HM Revenue and Customs spanning over 20 years.

Although it was acknowledged that every business model is different, the event opened up discussions to benefit all participants with a range of aspects covered. The experts were on hand to advise businesses on the steps they should be taking to prepare themselves for 29 March 2019.

Tait Walker’s Alistair Wilson said: “The main message Tait Walker wanted to get across during this roundtable lunch was for organisations, particularly those in manufacturing, to start to look at their businesses now and identify any processes or contracts that may need to change.

“We hope that everyone around the table took away valuable and executable steps to better prepare themselves for Brexit, whether the outcome be deal or no deal.”

Earlier in the day Tait Walker also hosted a VAT and Customs event for 90 attendees, which highlighted that many businesses were yet to start planning their strategy due to the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. The key message to attendees of this event was that if the UK leaves Brexit without a deal, it could create cash flow issues for businesses and if businesses don’t plan ahead, they may not have enough funds to fill the void.

Andrew Moorby, managing partner at Tait Walker, added: “Our export campaign is all about supporting and advising businesses across the North of England by encouraging international trade and helping businesses to get their VAT, customs and duties in order before we leave the EU.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is to prepare for every possible outcome in March 2019 and our team of specialists are able to help with those planning stages.”

Tait Walker’s export campaign provides a valuable space for businesses to come together and learn how best to approach Brexit. The next event will be held on Tuesday 9 October 2018 at Hardwick Hall Hotel. To find out more about Tait Walker visit www.taitwalker.co.uk or call 0191 2850321.