Clean Green Services Seek Clarity on the Irish Border
In a tumultuous week where the Government settled on an agreement with the European Union for Britain's withdrawal from the bloc, The Parliamentary Review assesses what practical impact this could have on British businesses which rely on trade with European countries.
Publishing the details on the new agreement terms, the Government has offered more clarity on the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU as well as outlining the Irish border details, two of the most important elements of the deal for businesses. The deal essentially ensures Northern Ireland have to adhere to the rules of the EU's single market, rather than UK rules in respect to the regulation of goods - denying the need for border checks which were so controversial. Northern Irish VAT rates would also differ from the rest of Britain, as they would have to abide by statutory minimum rates according to EU law.
This could provide some much needed clarity for some British businesses such as Clean Green Services, an environmentally friendly cleaning and maintenance company with over 110 employees, whose future plans will be heavily impacted by the terms of a Brexit deal. The company's Director of Operations, Michael Dixon told the Review,
"One of the main problems for our production arm is the cost of importing raw materials. One of the main resources we import is silicon, which is susceptible to drastic fluctuations in price. Brexit could deepen these issues.
"We own the trademark which allows us to export our products to Europe, and restricted, or at least more difficult, borders between European nations could significantly damage our future growth. Thus, we are looking to base a company in the Republic of Ireland and circumvent Britain's exit from the European Union. However, this plan of action is still susceptible to the ongoing disputes over the nature of the border between Northern Ireland and the republic."
In addition, the draft agreement further outlines how the UK and EU's future trading relationship would look like. A Free Trade Agreement would be a priority, with a high level meeting planned for June 2020, however a point of interest would be the fact that references to a "level playing field" when it comes to trading, tax and employment standards are now no longer legally binding. Whatever happens in the House of Commons, there is still some way to go before businesses can plan with more certainty.