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How does FireWare handle the Brexit?

14 February 2019
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It is all over the news: the Brexit. At present, it remains unsure what will happen after the Brexit. However, chances are that we are rapidly approaching a “no-deal Brexit”. Without an agreement, postponement or emergency plan taking effect, things are going to change where it comes to goods entering the Netherlands from the United Kingdom and vice versa. Without interference, the Brexit will take shape on March 29th of this year.

This news item is to inform you of FireWare’s actions to prepare for the Brexit’s consequences. Our main goal is to ensure that there will be as little inconvenience as possible for our business relations with regard to the changes at hand. Certain issues however are beyond our control. As far as those are concerned, we will simply have to adjust to the new reality.

What will change for our Dutch customers?

FireWare imports Ruth Lee dummies. The dummies are produced in Wales. At present, these products are imported within EU-borders. After the Brexit, this will be an import from outside EU-borders.

Handling

FireWare already is experienced in importing goods from outside the EU. Therefore, we already dispose of the necessary permits and know-how to allow a relatively simple import experience. However, importing goods across non-EU borders implies increased handling and paper work.

Import fees

In addition to the increased level of handling, we might also incur import duties. The exact rate remains unknown until present, but we expect the additional charges for the Ruth Lee dummies to be relatively modest. The current import and export rate on dummies applied for non-European countries is at 0%. We don’t know the future rates for the United Kingdom yet.

Ruth Lee has already announced a price increase as a result of the increased costs for production and raw materials caused by the Brexit.

Transportation

Another uncertainty is transportation. Transporters will probably experience more barriers when transporting Ruth Lee products to the Netherlands. Due to more stringent customs controls and related increased waiting times, we expect transportation costs to go up.

GDPR

In order to save on transportation and handling costs, we often choose for “drop shipments”. This means that the Ruth Lee products are directly shipped to the Dutch end user. To this end, we have to share the customer’s address details. This is allowed within the scope of the existing GDPR regulation. However, after the Brexit has taken effect, the United Kingdom might be identified as a so-called third country. In such event, additional agreements are necessary between FireWare and Ruth Lee in order to continue to comply with the privacy regulations / guidelines. We would like to stress that FireWare itself does not store any data within the United Kingdom. Moreover, we share data with Ruth Lee only to the extent needed to allow shipment of the goods.

Direct consequences in short

In short, we do expect a price increase for the Ruth Lee products. The exact increase cannot be predicted as yet. This is one of the consequences that are beyond our control.

In addition, we expect the delivery time(s) to be longer. Within FireWare this will be tackled by increasing our stock supply of certain products. The rental department will also be expanded by a set of dummies. If needed, these rental dummies can be offered as a temporary solution until the “ordered” dummy is delivered.

In the event where you intend to purchase a Ruth Lee product, we advise you not to wait too long. If the order is physically delivered before the Brexit takes effect, we can apply the current delivery conditions. If the order is placed prior to the Brexit, but the delivery cannot be realised before the Brexit takes effect, and with regard to any other order / delivery following the effective date of the Brexit, we will be forced to apply a price increase.

What will change for our customers in the United Kingdom?

FireWare is selling its products in the United Kingdom via Ruth Lee. The Brexit will not change this. As a result of the Brexit, Ruth Lee however will face similar challenges when importing FireWare products into the United Kingdom. They too will be confronted with increased freight costs, a higher administrative burden, possible import charges and a substantial risk of extended delivery times.

CE conformity

CE conformity is an important pillar for free exchange of goods within the European Union. At present, it remains unknown how the United Kingdom will handle this. Will the European standard remain in force or will there be other and/or additional requirements? Currently, there is no answer to these questions. FireWare will continue to comply with the European standards though. As soon as other or additional requirements become available, we will look into ways to comply with these additional regulations as well.

GDPR

Not only the concept of free exchange of goods and individuals is important to FireWare, but also to the exchange of personal details. FireWare complies with the strict rules and regulations of the GDPR. The United Kingdom has not presented a clear and unambiguous strategy on how to act once the Brexit has taken shape, but we are on top of the news.

Order timely

The FireWare team is fully confident that Ruth Lee will do whatever it takes to limit any inconveniences for our customers based in the United Kingdom. Still, we do recommend our Britain-based customers to order timely should they intend to place an order on the short-term. In case of physical delivery prior to the Brexit taking effect, we will be able to guarantee the current conditions. If the actual delivery of an order is postponed until after the Brexit, there is a good chance prices will increase, and delivery times will be longer.

In conclusion

Within FireWare we do our utmost to provide our national and international customers with the best possible service. The Brexit will not change that. However, we do not intend to hide our thoughts about the present situation. The continuing uncertainty is a challenging element for an organisation that takes pride in its reliability and transparency. We try to assure a smooth transit by keeping ourselves informed and by sharing the acquired information with our customers.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The entire FireWare team is at your service!

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