How would an EU exit impact international postage?
Political talk in recent months has rightly been dominated by the UK's membership of the EU. With the Cameron-promised referendum creeping ever closer, everyone's asking "should we stay or should we go?" Now, there are strong cases for both, but we're not here to argue either point.
We know that leaving the Union, if such a decision is made come June 23, would have various impacts on day-to-day life for businesses and individuals up and down the country. Being in the business of international parcel delivery, we're naturally most interested in how that'll be affected. Let's take a closer look.
We'll start with an easy one here. If you've read any of our international delivery guides, you'll know that anything being sent from the UK to a destination outside of the EU must be accompanied by the appropriate customs documentation. These forms, namely CN22 and CN23 (depending on the items' value), will contain a load of information about you, the recipient and the contents of your package - things like a detailed description, weight, country of origin etc.
Should we leave the EU, filling out these documents - and others like them - will likely become a regular process for e-retailers who serve customers in other parts of the world.
Whilst our own government is responsible for much of the legislation we live by, a fair chunk of it comes direct from Brussels. In fact, this is one of the biggest arguments for leaving if you speak to anyone in the anti-EU brigade. What this means is that laws could change significantly, and this includes the prohibited lists that govern international senders.
So, at present, things are pretty relaxed across most of Europe - there are the obvious no-go items, like guns, narcotics and live animals, but not too much more than that. An exit, however, could complicate things. Restrictions may be placed on UK produce, especially if the EU takes the opportunity to make an example of us for ending our membership.
New opportunities in the wider world
It's not all negative if an 'out' vote is confirmed in June. If trading with other European countries becomes more complex as a result of legislation changes, it could lead to better business relationships with countries further afield, like the United States and China.
For one, this would mean new, larger audiences for businesses to target - China alone is home to around 20 per cent of the global population, and the US is the largest consumer market in the world.
It might also lead to the introduction of new products here, which could then be sold to domestic customers. Should this happen, though, sellers will need to ensure they're up to speed with all of the shipping regulations for the relevant countries.
With opinion polls generally split down the middle, it's difficult to know which way the vote will go, but it's clear to see that businesses - and even our individual customers - would be impacted by an exit. Our advice is to prepare thoroughly for every possible eventuality, and to keep a close eye on proceedings later this year!
Also see related content...