Going green on Brexit
UK and EU negotiators have announced the next ‘decisive step’ in the Brexit process. Whilst there are still some sticking points, notably questions around the Northern Irish border, general consensus has been reached on the shape of the relationship during the transition period which will now run until 31 December 2020. This includes:
- The UK will continue to participate in, and make payments to, the budget during the transition period
- EU citizens arriving in the UK during the transition period will have the same rights as those currently in the UK and vice versa
Perhaps most importantly from the viewpoint of business; during the transition period the UK will not only continue to benefit from existing EU trade deals with other countries, it will also have the ability to negotiate and ratify trade deals with other countries in its own right. This not only gives businesses certainty until the end of 2020 thereby helping with budgeting and planning; it is expected that the extended timescale given to enable the UK to negotiate its own arrangements will help to avoid ‘Brexit shock’ and enable businesses to look far more towards the long-term.
Whilst there is undoubtedly some way to go, the fact that the joint announcement by negotiators showcased more areas of agreement (highlighted in green) than outstanding (left white) is a positive sign. And whilst headline announcements make the news, it is also worth noting that behind-the-scenes steps are already being taken to establish an independent position within the global sphere. For example, on 13th March the UK formally ratified the Hague agreement for industrial designs. The ratification, which will come into force with effect from 13th June, provides businesses with a greater choice on registering designs internationally, including the ability to register a design in up to 67 countries via a single application.
Whilst the UK has to date been a member of the Hague agreement via the EU, this early move to become a signatory in its own right will, in the words of IPO Chief Executive Tim Moss, “give businesses a greater choice in how to protect, manage and register their designs internationally, and save them money.” Moreover he comments that “Our membership of this international system may also encourage non-UK owners of designs to register their rights in the UK for basing manufacturing, distribution or licensing of their intellectual property (IP).”
In other words, post-Brexit the UK is very much going to be open for international trade. This then is the time for businesses to start to look forward, to make their own plans to build relationships and to seek opportunities across the globe. Key to this is the ability to communicate, to encourage potential suppliers and customers to get in touch and to open discussions. The internet may play its part here but so too will a thoughtful choice of international telephone numbers. With national and regional, international and freephone numbers available, businesses can advertise one or a range of numbers to suit their expected contacts. And with VoIP also available, making calls over the internet can also be a cost effective way of opening up the communication channels.
The negotiators are going green on Brexit. With the right phone numbers to hand will you also be green to go on international trade?