We have prepared these pages in collaboration with both the States of Jersey’s External Relations and Jersey Customs and Immigration. Both these teams have been negotiating with the UK Government throughout the Brexit process and they will continue to engage with the UK whilst the practicalities of the UK leaving the EU continue to come into effect.
What is Brexit?
Brexit is the term being used as shorthand for the situation of the UK leaving the European Union. On Thursday 23rd June 2016 a referendum was held in the UK to decide if the country should leave or remain in the European Union. More than 30 million people voted and the leave vote won by 51.9% against 48.1% who voted to remain.
What’s happening now?
For the UK to leave it had to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, giving both sides 2 years to agree the terms of the split, which it did on Friday 29th March 2017. Since then, the UK Government and the EU have been in negotiations over the terms of the UK’s withdrawal.
A deal was negotiated and passed by the EU in November 2018, however, at the current time, the UK Parliament has not agreed to this and it is unclear if or when a deal will be passed in the UK.
As a result, at the moment there is no clarity on when a deal will be concluded, whether or for how long there will be a transition period or whether the UK will leave the EU without a deal.
Is Jersey in the EU and/or the UK?
Jersey is a Crown dependency of the UK which gives it rights of self-government, judicial independence and a considerable measure of autonomy although responsibility for the Island’s international representation rests largely with the UK government.
Jersey has a special relationship with the EU which is set out in Protocol 3 of the UK’s Accession Treaty and is therefore linked to the UK’s membership of the EU. Protocol 3 keeps Jersey outside the EU except for the free trade in goods and movement of people, when it is treated as a part of it. However, Jersey does voluntarily adopt some EU legislation and the international standards on which they are based.
What does this mean for businesses in Jersey?
Because Jersey’s relationship with the EU is governed by Protocol 3, when/if the UK leaves the EU Jersey’s constitutional relationship with it will also change. As a result officials in the States of Jersey have been in discussion with the UK to ensure that the Island’s interests are taken into account during the UK’s negotiations.
Jersey’s position is explained in the Brexit Information report. This report was written in 2016 and concludes that our best interests are served by replicating the current arrangements with the EU and UK. However, negotiations are still ongoing and the final deal or no deal is still unclear.
What about buying or selling products in the UK?
After months of negotiations with the UK, Jersey’s officials have concluded an arrangement binding the three Crown Dependencies into a customs union with the UK. This means that Jersey will continue to have the same trading relationship with the UK and other Crown Dependencies as it does now even after the UK leaves the EU.
Practically this means that goods will continue to move between Jersey and the UK without any customs duties but customs declarations will still be required as the GST/VAT arrangements will stay in place.
Given the current and ongoing levels of uncertainty it is essential that businesses trading with EU partners, customers or suppliers, make some preparation for the possible impact of a no deal Brexit on their organisations. For businesses with an aspiration to grow internationally, now is also an opportunity to consider the opportunities that might open up as a result of Brexit.
What do I need to do now?
Given the current and ongoing levels of uncertainty it is essential that businesses trading with EU partners, customers or suppliers, make some preparation for the possible impact of a no deal Brexit on their organisations. Brexit will also affect any EU staff you may employ and could have an impact on your cash flow and finances.
Think now about how Brexit might affect you and understand the changes that will happen to the customs process if you are importing or exporting goods to the EU.
For businesses with an aspiration to grow internationally, now is also an opportunity to consider the opportunities that might open up as a result of Brexit.
Finally, if you have a specific question or scenario you might find our Frequently Asked Questions helpful.