BREXIT preparedness

BREXIT – Information and frequently asked questions from customers and business partners

Last updated: 3 September 2020

Dear customer

Following the ratification of the withdrawal bill, the UK formally left the EU on Friday, 31 January 2020. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, there is now a transition period until the end of 2020. In the transition period, there will be no significant changes in the UK’s trading relationship with the EU. During this time, negotiations on the future trading relationship will take place. The impact of Brexit from 1 January 2021 will depend on the outcome of these negotiations and a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is still a possibility at that point.

Many of the measures that have already been implemented in preparation for a possible no-deal Brexit will remain in place. Those activities that would need to be implemented should the UK leave the EU without a trade deal in place by the end of 2020 (including supply network changes and VAT systems changes) will remain on hold.

We are continuously monitoring the political process very closely and will review our preparations in light of any changes. The contingency measures that we have already implemented, along with our ongoing vigilance and focus, means that the company will continue to be well prepared for all potential outcomes of the Brexit process.

The thorough preparation work we had done in the run-up to a potential no-deal Brexit last year means that the company is already well prepared in many areas of our business. Our contingency measures encompass many areas and functions, but some of the key activities are:

  • Moving the certification for regulated products out of the UK to notified bodies within the EU 27
  • Making preparations to comply with the requirements of a UK equivalent of EU REACH legislation
  • Changing our supply network to allow direct shipments to the Republic of Ireland
  • Holding additional inventory of stock items in the UK for goods produced elsewhere and in the EU for UK-manufactured goods.
    Please note that we are unable to build inventory of made-to-order goods and customers may, therefore, wish to consider making their own contingency arrangements for these items.
  • Ensuring that our systems are ready for changes in VAT processes for UK imports and exports
  • Ensuring that all our business models are consistent with the UK having third country status in respect to the EU
  • Consolidating shipments to minimise any required customs declarations
  • Ensuring that we have the resource and capability to manage an increased level of customs declarations

We have also confirmed that we have suitable contract clauses in place to allow the continued transfer of data between the UK and EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

We hope the activities listed above, which are by no means an exhaustive list, will give you the reassurance that 3M is aware of the potential impacts of a no-deal Brexit and is preparing accordingly.

Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to continuing our strong business relationship with you as the negotiations continue.

3M Europe, Middle East and Africa

  • Frequently asked questions

    Q1 Will lead times increase as a result of Brexit?

    Any additional customs processes required at UK borders would, inevitably, affect the transit time for goods into and out of the UK. The 3M supply chain organisation is working to ensure we minimise any impacts on our customers.

    Q2 Will 3M stockpile inventory in order to ensure continuity of supply?

    3M supply chain organisation had previously built additional stock in anticipation of a possible no-deal Brexit on 29 March and again on 31 October 2019. The company will consider a further inventory build if there is a possibility of a no-deal Brexit at a future date.

    Q3 Will 3M's customers in the Republic of Ireland face delays and price increases after Brexit, should their goods pass through the UK?

    The 3M supply chain organisation is closely monitoring the situation and has implemented a plan to allow direct shipments to the Republic of Ireland from the EU in order to minimise any potential impact on customers. Customers will be contacted directly and advised if there is any likely impact on lead times.

    Q4 If freight costs go up after Brexit, would this mean price rises for customers?

    3M operates within a competitive environment and will always work to minimise costs and, wherever possible, limit the impact on customers through price increases.

    Q5 Will 3M hold stock of products in the Republic of Ireland to ensure good service for its Irish customers?

    The 3M supply chain organisation is closely monitoring the situation and exploring several possible options for supply to the Republic of Ireland to minimise any potential impact on customers.

    Q6 Can 3M guarantee that Brexit will not affect prices and lead times for UK and Irish customers?

    The 3M supply chain organisation is closely monitoring the situation and exploring a number of possible options for supply to the Republic of Ireland to minimise any potential impact on customers.

    Q7 Is 3M ready for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit?

    3M is closely monitoring the negotiations and has established a Brexit team that is responsible for ensuring the organisation is prepared for all scenarios.

    Q8 Could Brexit have a negative impact on 3M's service levels to customers?

    3M constantly strives to provide the highest possible service levels for its customers. Brexit will not change this.

    Q9 If I start a supply contract with 3M before Brexit – but it ends after Brexit – what legal recourse would I have if there is a dispute – and who is the ultimate arbiter of that dispute?

    This would depend greatly on the nature of the contract. You may wish to seek legal advice, should you have any specific concerns.

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