The Dutch Newspaper NRC recently published an article on the consequences of Brexit for Dutch business. Three Dutch companies are asked about their preparations for Brexit, including Stertil which has its own sales organisation in the UK.
The European Union and the UK are in talks to reach a free trade agreement. The transition period, which started after the official Brexit on January 31 of this year, will end on 1 January 2021. During the transition period, the trading rules are still the same.
The article describes the consequences if no agreement is reached, such as import tariffs and controls and inspections by customs. And what the possible damage could be for the Dutch economy, also with a trade deal.
In 2018, the newspaper asked three Dutch companies about their preparations for Brexit, and now contacted them again. Are they better prepared now?
Stertil is one of those companies. Stertil obtains more than a fifth of its turnover from the UK and has its own sales office there with about seventy people. In the preparations, Stertil had already applied for a special customs status for regular exporters to the UK, that of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), in order to make deliveries as smooth as possible.
“The AEO status has now been received,” says Stertil CEO & President Ulbe Bijlsma. Stertil has also taken other steps. “We now include clauses in our offers stating that possible import tariffs due to a hard Brexit will be borne by the British customer. We also establish that the longer delivery times would mean force majeure. This is to prevent claims”.
In addition, Stertil investigated the origin of its parts. A few parts, such as material for the dock shelters, come from the UK. "We have built up additional stocks and we have found a second supplier on the European mainland".
The biggest Brexit risk for Stertil, says Bijlsma, is that the British economy, hit hard by the pandemic, will decline further. "Fortunately, we also have customers in the online industry, which is still booming, especially in the United Kingdom".