Home News Two-in-three businesses still aren’t gearing up for Brexit

Two-in-three businesses still aren’t gearing up for Brexit

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One of the biggest surveys of business intentions since the EU referendum has found that nearly two-thirds of firms still aren’t preparing for Brexit.

The British Chambers of Commerce – to which Cumbria Chamber is affiliated – spoke to 2,530 businesses across the UK during August.

Our survey found that:

  • 62% of firms still haven’t completed a Brexit risk assessment;
  • A fifth of businesses will cut investment if there is ‘no deal’, 20% will move part or all of their business to the EU and 18% will cut recruitment.

Click here for the BCC  Brexit checklist

Larger firms, and those that import or export, are the most exposed to the ramifications of ‘no deal’.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our evidence is clear – failure to reach a political agreement would have real-world consequences, with significant decreases in investment and recruitment.

“The survey also highlights a concerning lack of Brexit preparation.

“It found that many SMEs are either awaiting more clarity before they act or are suffering from ‘Brexit fatigue’ and have switched off from the process because they don’t believe they will be affected.”

Back in August, the Government published the first tranche of ‘technical notices’ advising on how to prepare for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, which continues to look a real possibility as negotiations remain deadlocked.

Click here to read the technical notices in full

Click here to read our summary of government advice on trade, tariffs, VAT, state aid, workplace rights, EU programmes and nuclear regulation.

Since then the Government has published further technical notices.

We’ve summarised the findings most relevant to businesses in Cumbria below, particularly those around travel, road haulage, civil legal cases, insolvency, labelling, intellectual property and data protection.

 

  1. TRAVEL

Driving licences

Currently, your UK driving licence is valid in the EU. If you move to another EU country, you can exchange UK licence for one from your new home country.

After March 2019, if there’s no deal, your UK driving licence may no longer be valid and you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU.

You may be turned away at the border or face other enforcement action, for example fines, if you don’t have the correct IDP.

You may also need an IDP to hire a vehicle when you are abroad.

There are two types of IDP required by EU countries. One is governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic and the other by the 1968 Vienna Convention. The version of the IDP you would require depends on which EU country you are visiting.

The 1949 convention IDP lasts for 12 months. It is recognised in Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus.

The 1968 convention IDP is valid for three years. A UK-issued 1968 convention IDP would be recognised in all other EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland.

You would need both types of IDP if you are visiting EU countries covered by different conventions, for example France and Spain.

The IDP will cost £5.50. From February 1, you will be able to apply for both types of IDP at 2,500 Post Offices across the UK.

Anyone moving to an EU country to live would no longer have the automatic right to exchange their UK licence for a domestic licence.

Depending on the EU country, you may need to take a new driving test.

You can avoid this by exchanging your UK driving licence for one from the EU country you plan to move to before March 29. If you do this you will be able to re-exchange for a UK licence if you return to live in the UK.

Arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change.

 

Motor insurance

UK motorists would need to carry a Green Card as proof of third party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.

TraffficThe validity of UK Green Cards in these countries is subject to agreements that need to be reached between the UK’s Motor Insurers’ Bureau and the relevant National Insurers’ Bureaux. These agreements ensure Green Cards are recognised and facilitate the settlement of claims for traffic accident victims.

You should expect documentation checks to be carried out when entering these countries.

You can request a Green Card from your insurance provider free of charge, but insurers may decide to reflect production and handling costs in a small increase to their administration fees.

If you are a commercial operator and have fleet insurance, you must ensure you have Green Cards for each vehicle. Some countries also require separate trailer insurance to that of the towing vehicle, which means a separate Green Card may be required for your trailer.

Without a Green Card, you would have to purchase local insurance in the country you are entering. If you don’t have proof of third party motor insurance cover, you may not be able to drive in that country.

Likewise, EU motorists driving in the UK will need to carry a Green Card.

You do not need to request a Green Card yet. We will be told nearer to Brexit day If Green Cards are required.

 

Air travel

If the UK leaves the EU with no agreement, UK and EU licensed airlines would lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and the EU without seeking advance permission.

This would mean that airlines operating between the UK and the EU would need to seek individual permissions to operate.

In this scenario, the Government envisages granting permission to EU airlines to continue to operate and it expects EU countries to reciprocate.

But if they don’t, there could be disruption to flights.

For airlines from 17 non-EU countries with whom air services to the UK are currently provided for by virtue of the UK’s membership of the EU, replacement arrangements will be in place before exit day.

For air passengers on a flight departing the UK, the same passenger rights as apply today would continue to apply. EU passenger rights legislation will be retained in domestic law by the Withdrawal Act.

 

Mobile phone roaming

Currently, you can travel in the EU with guaranteed surcharge-free roaming. This means you can use your mobile devices to make calls, send texts and use mobile data services for no more than you would be charged when in the UK.

In addition, the EU Roaming regulation requires mobile operators to apply a default financial limit for mobile data usage of €50.

Modern smartphoneOperators are also required to send an alert once your device reaches 80% and then 100% of the agreed data roaming limit. These requirements apply regardless of where you are in the world, not only within the EU.

In the event of a deal, surcharge-free roaming would continue to be guaranteed during the Implementation Period. Following the Implementation Period the arrangements for roaming, including surcharges, would depend on the outcome of the negotiations on the Future Economic Partnership.

If there is no deal, the costs that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated after March 2019. This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed.

Mobile operators 3, EE, O2 and Vodafone, which cover 85% of mobile subscribers, have said they have no plans to change their approach to mobile roaming after the UK leaves the EU.

The plans to legislate to ensure that the requirements on mobile operators to apply a financial limit on mobile data usage while abroad is retained in UK law. The limit would be set at £45 per monthly billing period. The government would also legislate to ensure the alerts at 80% and 100% data usage continue.

 

Passports

Most EU countries (though not the UK) are members of the Schengen Agreement. This removes passport checks and border controls at the borders between countries in the Schengen area.

Currently, British citizens are able to enter the Schengen area with a valid passport. There’s no requirement for British passports to have a minimum or maximum validity period.

Apart from the UK, the only EU countries not in the Schengen area are Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus.

If there’s no deal, British passport holders will be considered as third country nationals under the Schengen Border Code.

To comply, your passport must:

  • Have been issued within the last 10 years on the date of arrival in a Schengen country, and
  • Have at least 3 months’ validity remaining on the date of intended departure from the last country visited in the Schengen area. Because third country nationals can remain in the Schengen area for 90 days, the actual check carried out could be that the passport has at least six months’ validity remaining on the date of arrival.

If you plan to travel to the Schengen area after March 29, 2019, the Government recommends that your passport is no older than nine years and six months on the date of travel or you may be denied entry.

For EU countries outside the Schengen area, you’ll need to check the entry requirements for the country you’re travelling to before you travel.

Travel to Ireland is subject to separate Common Travel Area arrangements which will be maintained after the UK leaves the EU.

 

  1. ROAD HAULAGE

Currently, UK hauliers carrying out international journeys must hold a Standard International Operator’s Licence with a Community Licence for journeys to, from or through the EU.

HaulageThere is a wider European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit scheme that allows UK hauliers to carry goods to or through 43 countries (including all EU countries except Cyprus).

Professional drivers are required to hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). CPCs issued in the UK are recognised across the EU, allowing drivers to operate without the need of an additional qualification. A CPC will continue to be required in the UK.

Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes and hauliers operating on own account (carrying their own goods) do not require an operator’s licence or CPC.

In the event of no deal, UK hauliers could no longer rely on automatic recognition by the EU of UK-issued Community Licences.

Hauliers may therefore no longer be able to access EU markets with their Community Licence alone. This would also end the ability of UK hauliers to perform cabotage (the haulage of goods within a country by a foreign haulier).

Drivers may also be required to carry IDP permits (see above under driving licences).

EU countries may choose to recognise that UK-issued operator licences and associated authorisations are based on the same standards as EU Community Licences and do not require further authorisations but this isn’t guaranteed.

If they do not, UK hauliers will have to use ECMT permits.

These can be used for different vehicles at different times but must be carried in a vehicle whilst it is making an international journey.

These are limited in number. Up to 984 annual Euro 6 ECMT permits, 2,592 monthly Euro 6 ECMT permits and 240 monthly Euro 5 ECMT permits are available. A range of other permits may become available if existing or future bilateral arrangements with EU countries require them.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is developing new systems for the allocation of permits needed from March 28, 2019. It expects to be taking applications for ECMT permits from November 2018.

The Government expects demand for ECMT permits to significantly exceed supply. As such, permits will be allocated according to criteria set out under the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018.

To apply for permits, hauliers will need to have a Vehicle Operator Licence (VOL) online account.

Some types of vehicles, for example vehicles under 3.5 tonnes, will be exempt from permit requirements.

The Government says hauliers should consider how many permits they may require so they are ready to apply later in the year.

And they should consider what contingency plans they need to have in place for the movement of goods if they do not receive the number of permits they applied for. This may include planning for alternative routes to move goods, or using different vehicles or modes of transport.

It says that hauliers, and businesses that use hauliers, should consider the implications of possible impacts on supply chains including reduced capacity at ports, reduced reliability and potential higher rates.

Hauliers and businesses will need to ensure their logistics and transport arrangements ensure the correct documentation and permissions are carried to be able to trade, including any permits, licences and proof of qualification.

Businesses should also ensure they have the correct customs documentation.

There are likely to be new requirements at borders with the EU if we leave without a deal. It is possible that EU required checks at EU ports could create delays and also affect routes.

In particular, agrifood goods may not be able to enter the EU except via a port with a Border Inspection Post.

The Government says hauliers should check if the requirements for safety and security declarations for importing and exporting goods apply to them.

Hauliers and businesses should consider what contingency plans they need to have in place for the movement of goods if there are delays at ports. This may include consideration of:

  • alternative routes to move goods by roll-on-roll-off haulage
  • alternative modes of transportation, such as containerisation or unaccompanied trailers
  • appropriate arrangements to allow for disruption to supply chains

EU countries that have ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention can require UK trailers to be registered when travelling in their country from March 28.

This means trailers will need to:

  • be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • display their own registration plate (separate from the vehicle towing them)

If there is no deal, other EU countries may be more likely to enforce the trailer registration requirements.

To address this, the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act also provides for a UK trailer registration scheme to be set up in line with the 1968 Vienna Convention, for commercial trailers over 750kg and all trailers over 3,500kg making international journeys.

Trailers used solely domestically or used only for journeys between the UK and Ireland will not need to be registered. Voluntary registration is however available for other trailers with a gross weight over 750kg.

Trailer registration will come into force regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. More information will be published later.

 

  1. LAW

Handling civil legal cases

Currently, the UK applies EU rules to determine:

  • which country’s courts hear a civil, commercial or family law cases raising cross-border issues with other EU countries (jurisdiction)
  • which country’s laws apply (applicable law)
  • how a judgment obtained in one EU country should be recognised and enforced in another (recognition and enforcement)
  • how cross-border legal procedural matters are handled (such as taking evidence in one country for use in proceedings in another)

In the event of ‘no deal’, there would be no agreed EU framework for ongoing civil judicial cooperation between the UK and EU countries.

JudgeMost of the EU rules operate on the basis of reciprocity between EU countries.

If the UK continued to apply the rules unilaterally, the UK’s status as a third country would mean that EU countries would not consider the UK to be covered by these rules. As a result, UK citizens, businesses and families would not benefit from these rules.

Because of this loss of reciprocity, the Government would repeal most of the existing civil judicial cooperation rules and instead use the domestic rules, which each UK legal system currently applies in relation to non-EU countries.

The Government advises businesses to seek professional legal advice on the implications of these changes for their individual circumstances.

 

Insolvency

The majority of the Insolvency Regulation, which covers the jurisdictional rules, applicable law and recognition of cross-border insolvency proceedings, would be repealed in all parts of the UK.

UK insolvency practitioners would need to make applications under an EU country’s domestic law in order to have UK orders recognised there.

In certain circumstances, some EU countries may not recognise UK insolvency proceedings, for example if that would prevent creditors from taking action against the assets held in that country.

EU insolvency proceedings and judgments would no longer be recognisable in the UK under the EU Insolvency Regulation, but may be recognised under the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, which already forms part of the UK’s domestic rules on recognising foreign insolvencies.

 

  1. LABELLING

Nominated persons

Currently, businesses can appoint nominated persons to carry out certain tasks on their behalf.

The tasks are defined in different pieces of EU product legislation. Individuals who can carry out the role of nominated person may also be known as authorised representatives and responsible persons.

For example, an authorised representative must hold technical documentation about a product and provide this to market surveillance authorities in EU countries upon request. In some cases, they may affix a marking, such as the CE marking, to indicate that a product meets relevant requirements.

If there is no deal any UK-based nominated person will no longer be recognised under EU law. This means they will not be recognised as able to carry out tasks on the manufacturer’s behalf.

To minimise disruption immediately after exit, existing authorised representatives based in an EU country will continue to be recognised in the UK for a time-limited period.

However, new authorised representatives will need to be based in the UK to be recognised under UK law.

Businesses with an existing authorised representative based in an EU country will not be impacted in the short term and can continue to place products on the EU and UK markets in the same way.

Businesses with an authorised representative based in the UK will no longer be able to rely on that representative to carry out all the required tasks for products placed on the EU market.

Businesses wishing to appoint a new authorised representative to carry out tasks on their behalf in the UK should be aware that the authorised representative must be located in the UK but will be unable to carry out tasks relating to products being placed on the EU market.

 

Food labelling

Labelling rules ensure consumers have easy access to the information they need to make an informed choice on which food to buy and eat. For example, all pre-packaged food must have a name that accurately describes the product. Multi-ingredient food must have an ingredients list with allergens highlighted.

Compositional standards lay down minimum standards for certain types of foods, for example honey, jam, chocolate products, sugars, instant coffee, bottled waters and fruit juices.

In addition, there are domestic (non-EU) rules for England on compositional standards regarding products containing meat, and bread and flour. Equivalent regulations for all of the above exist for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If there is no deal, the UK government will maintain current standards on food safety, food labelling and food quality.

TescoInitially, the EU-based provisions would all be rolled over, as part of the Withdrawal Act. However, some changes would be required to reflect the fact that the UK will no longer be a member of the EU.

Where the UK has its own compositional standards that do not stem from the EU, these would remain unchanged.

Use of the term ‘EU’ in origin labelling would no longer be correct for food or ingredients from the UK.

For pre-packed products sold in the UK, the label would need to include the name and a UK address of the responsible food business operator.  The food business operator is the business under whose name the food is marketed in the UK or, if that operator is not established in the UK, the importer.

An EU address alone would no longer be valid for the UK market. Similarly, a UK address alone would no longer be valid for the EU market and an address within the remaining EU member states would be required following EU exit. A UK address together with an EU address on the label would mean that the label is valid for both the UK and EU markets.

To mitigate the immediate impacts, the Government plans to allow for a period of up to 6 months following Brexit, food bearing an EU address to be placed on the UK market. Foods already labelled and placed on the UK market bearing an EU address would be allowed to be sold until stocks are exhausted.

Natural Mineral Waters (NMWs) currently undergo a specific recognition process in order to be able to be marketed across the EU.

After Brexit, NMWs recognised in the UK may no longer be accepted as such in the EU. NMW producers need to be prepared to apply for recognition of their water through an EU member state.

 

Protecting geographical food and drink names

Currently, producers in the EU can protect the names of their products under geographical indication (GI) regulations put in place by the EU.

These ensure that EU countries, including the UK, comply with the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and that UK GIs are protected from imitation and evocation throughout the EU.

There are currently 86 GI-protected UK product names – including Cumberland Sausage – comprising 76 agricultural and food products, five wines and five spirit drinks.

Following a no-deal Brexit, the UK will set up our own GI schemes which will be WTO TRIPS compliant, broadly mirror the current EU regime and be no more burdensome to producers.

The protections will be similar to those enjoyed now by UK GI producers, with all 86 UK GIs given new UK GI status automatically.

The UK would no longer be required to recognise EU GI status. EU producers would be able to apply for UK GI status.

After we leave the EU, the Government anticipates that all current UK GIs will continue to be protected by the EU’s GI schemes.

If this is not the case, UK producers wishing to regain the protection offered by EU GI status, and the right to use the EU GI logo, would need to submit their applications to the European Commission as ‘third country’ producers.

The application process would be similar to that used by EU countries, with the additional need to show that the GI was protected in the UK. The UK Government would provide support and guidance for this process.

Alternatively, or in addition, producers might consider protecting their products by applying for EU Collective Marks or EU Certification Marks.

These are granted by the EU Intellectual Property Office, either directly or through the World International Property Organisation (Madrid system), and can be applied for individually or collectively. The Government recommends that producers seek legal advice.

The Government is working with global trading partners to replicate EU free trade agreements and other sectoral agreements, including accommodating the protection of UK GIs in third countries.

After March 2019, irrespective of the outcome of EU negotiations, it expects UK GIs currently named in and protected by EU free trade agreements and other sectoral agreements will continue to be protected.

 

  1. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Copyright

The UK and other EU member states are party to the main international treaties on copyright and related rights. Under these rules, countries provide copyright protection for works originating in or made by nationals of other countries. These rules underpin the copyright legislation in all member states of the EU and do not depend on the UK’s membership of the EU.

There is also a body of EU law on copyright and related rights that goes beyond the provisions of the international treaties, including several cross-border copyright mechanisms. These mechanisms are unique to the EU and provide reciprocal protections and benefits between EU member states.

If we leave without a deal, the UK’s continued membership of the main international treaties on copyright will ensure that the scope of protection for copyright works in the UK and for UK works abroad will be largely unchanged.

EU Directives and Regulations on copyright and related rights will be preserved in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018.

However, EU cross-border copyright mechanisms extend only to member states. On exit, the UK will be treated by the EU and EEA as a third country and the reciprocal element of these mechanisms will cease to apply to the UK.

This means that, for example:

  • There will be no obligation for EEA states to provide database rights to UK nationals, residents, and businesses. UK owners of UK database rights may find that their rights are unenforceable in the EEA.
  • Online content service providers will not be required or able to offer cross-border access to UK consumers under the EU Regulation. UK consumers may see restrictions to their online content services when they visit the EU.

Businesses and other interested parties may wish to seek legal advice on how these arrangements could affect them, the Government says.

 

Exhaustion of intellectual property rights

Intellectual property (IP) rights give the business, organisation or individual that holds the rights (the right holder) certain exclusive entitlements, which include the right to control distribution of a protected product.

intellectual propertyThe exhaustion of IP rights refers to the loss of the right to control distribution and resale of that product after it been put on the market.

For example, the inventor of a product can legally prohibit others from making and selling the product, but cannot prohibit customers who have bought the product from reselling it to third parties.

The UK is currently part of a regional European Economic Area (EEA) exhaustion scheme, meaning that IP rights are considered exhausted once they have been put on the market anywhere in the EEA.

In the event of a no-deal scenario, the UK will continue to recognise the EEA regional exhaustion regime. This approach means there will be no change to the rules affecting imports of goods into the UK.

There may, however, be restrictions on the export of goods from the UK to the EEA. Businesses undertaking such activities may need to check with EU right holders to see if permission is needed.

The Government says businesses may wish to seek legal advice on how this arrangement could affect their business model or intellectual property rights.

 

Patents

Only a few areas of UK patent law come from EU legislation and these will be retained in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act.

The existing systems will therefore remain in place, operating independently from the EU regime, with all the current conditions and requirements.

Any UK legislation supporting the existing systems will also continue to function as normal.

The EU is in the process of setting up the Unified Patent Court to hear cases relating to European patents and the new unitary patent. This is a new type of patent covering a number of European states.

The Unified Patent Court is intended to provide businesses with a streamlined process for enforcing patents through a single court, rather than through multiple courts in multiple countries.  It is unclear whether the Court and unitary patent will start before March 2019.

If they are ratified and come into force, there will be actions that UK and EU businesses, organisations and individuals may need to consider.

The UK government will explore whether it would be possible to remain within the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent systems in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

If we can’t do that, businesses will not be able to use the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent to protect their inventions within the UK. Existing unitary patents will give rise to equivalent UK patent protection to ensure continued protection in the UK.

UK business will still be able to use the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent to protect their inventions within the contracting EU countries.

UK business will still be open to litigation within the Unified Patent Court based on actions they undertake within the contracting EU countries if they infringe existing rights.

The Government says businesses may wish to seek legal advice on how these arrangements could affect their business model or IP rights.

 

Trade marks

Currently, EU trade marks and registered Community designs are intellectual property rights. They are granted by the EU Intellectual Property Office and are governed by EU regulations.

A business, organisation or individual that owns an EU trade mark or registered Community design (the right holder) has that right protected across all EU member states including the UK.

Right holders can also hold trade marks and registered designs through the international Madrid and Hague systems. These systems allow users to file one application, in one language, and pay one set of fees to protect trade marks and registered designs in up to 113 territories including the EU.

Trade marks and registered designs obtained through these systems are also protected in the UK.

If there’s no deal, the Government will ensure that the property rights in all existing registered EU trade marks and registered Community designs will continue to be protected and to be enforceable in the UK by providing an equivalent trade mark or design registered in the UK.

Businesses, organisations or individuals that have applications for an EU trade mark or Community design, which are ongoing at the point of the UK’s exit from the EU, will have a period of nine months from the date of exit to apply in the UK for the same protections.

The government will work, including with the World Intellectual Property Organization, to provide continued protection in the UK after March 2019 of trade marks and designs filed through the Madrid and Hague systems and which designate the EU.

Existing registered EU trade marks or registered Community designs held will continue to be valid in the remaining EU member states.

 

Community Designs

Unregistered Community Designs are intellectual property rights governed by an EU regulation.  A business, organisation or individual that owns an unregistered Community design (the right holder) has that right protected across all EU member states including the UK.

Unregistered Community designs protect a range of design features including two and three-dimensional aspects such as surface decoration and product shape. The unregistered Community design provides three years of protection from the date that the design is first made available to the public.

It is entirely separate from the UK’s own design right, which protects product shape and configuration for a maximum of 15 years.

In the event of ‘no deal’, the Government will ensure that all unregistered Community designs that exist at the point the UK leaves the EU will continue to be protected and enforceable in the UK for the remaining period of protection of the right.

In addition, the UK will create a new unregistered design right in UK law which mirrors the characteristics of the unregistered Community design.

 

  1. DATA PROTECTION

Currently, rules governing the collection and use of personal data are currently set at an EU-level by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In the UK, the Data Protection Act and the GDPR provide a comprehensive data protection framework. Most other EU countries have their own supplementary legislation.

GDPR General Data Protection RegulationUnder GDPR rules, organisations are only permitted to transfer personal data outside the EU if there is a legal basis for doing so. Transfers of personal data within the EU are not restricted.

If the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place regarding future arrangements for data protection, there would be no immediate change in the UK’s own data protection standards.

This is because the Data Protection Act 2018 would remain in place and the EU Withdrawal Act would incorporate the GDPR into UK law to sit alongside it.

However, the legal framework governing transfers of personal data from organisations (or subsidiaries) established in the EU to organisations established in the UK would change on exit.

As set out below, you would need to take action to ensure EU organisations were able to continue to send you personal data.

You would continue to be able to send personal data from the UK to the EU.

In recognition of the unprecedented degree of alignment between the UK and EU’s data protection regimes, the UK would at the point of exit continue to allow the free flow of personal data from the UK to the EU. The UK would keep this under review.

The EU has an established mechanism to allow the free flow of personal data to countries outside the EU, namely an adequacy decision.

The European Commission has stated that, if it deems the UK’s level of personal data protection essentially equivalent to that of the EU, it would make an adequacy decision allowing the transfer of personal data to the UK without restrictions.

However, the Commission has not yet indicated a timetable for this and have stated that the decision on adequacy cannot be taken until the UK has left.

If the European Commission does not make an adequacy decision regarding the UK at the point of exit, and you want to receive personal data from organisations established in the EU, then you should consider assisting your EU partners in identifying a legal basis for those transfers.

For the majority of organisations the most relevant alternative legal basis would be standard contractual clauses. These are model data protection clauses that have been approved by the European Commission and enable the free flow of personal data when embedded in a contract.

The clauses contain contractual obligations on you and your EU partner, and rights for the individuals whose personal data is transferred.

In certain circumstances, your EU partners may be able to rely on a derogation to transfer personal data. The Government recommends that you proactively consider what action you may need to take to ensure the continued free flow of data with EU partners.

 

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

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