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LONDON: August 23, 2018. The British government published ‘Technical Notices’ this week advising what to do in the event of a no-deal Brexit. According to express service retailer Parcel Hero and its head of Consumer Research David Jinks, the suggestions are as helpful as the government's 1970s ‘Protect and Survive’ booklet on how to withstand a nuclear attack by sheltering under a table:

“If the government thought its first batch of 25 documents advising businesses and individuals how to plan for the event of us leaving the EU without a deal would reassure people, they are mistaken.

“The advice that people and businesses shipping items to the EU should ‘engage the services of a Customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider to help, or alternatively secure the appropriate software and authorisations’, is reminiscent of the booklet’s advice to ‘use tables if they are large enough to provide you all with shelter’.

“The European Commission recently warned increased border controls will mean transport between the UK and EU will be ‘severely impacted’, with the possibility of ‘significant delays’. The Technical Notice assertion that the government will have stockpiled six weeks of medical supplies to cope with border disruption simply creates more worries than it calms. If that’s the level of delays anticipated for urgent medicines, what will the situation be like for normal goods? If individuals and SMEs are simply planning to send a parcel to the EU, or expecting a parcel collection from the Continent, we can get a picture of the real delays anticipated.

“The Brexit secretary (‘Vote Leave’ proponent Dominic Raab) introduced the new Technical Notices by saying: ‘There are risks here, but let’s not have the risks blown out of proportion.’

“Quite frankly the Technical Paper on Trade’s advice that businesses should ‘if necessary, put steps in place to renegotiate commercial terms to reflect any changes in Customs and excise procedures, and any tariffs that may apply to UK-EU trade’, [echoes] the introduction to the Protect and Survive booklet: ‘The dangers which you and your family will face in this situation can be reduced if you do as this booklet describes.’

“Just like with the threat of a nuclear attack, we very much hope that a no-deal Brexit is a worst-case scenario never actually happens. Anyone planning to use a parcel courier to ship to the EU in the future must trust that the threat of a hard Brexit never actually comes true – because British exporters know ducking under a table won’t help them survive the extra duties, red tape and delays on their exports to the EU.”

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