NAJ News

Brexit opinion from the jewellery industry; preparations, concerns and togetherness

22 Oct 2019

With the changing shape of Brexit, The Jeweller Editor, Belinda Morris caught up with a selection of NAJ members to understand what preparations look like, what concerns feel like and ultimately how the jewellery community can work together to overcome the Brexit challenge.

 Contributors include:

  

What preparations are you making for Brexit?

 Gary Wroe said,

 “With negotiations ongoing it has been difficult for all businesses to really prepare for Brexit. There has been some guidance from the Government on no deal scenarios but nearly enough.

 “As a business we have been speaking to delivery companies on how the logistics will work when sending goods to the EU where there will be customs and checks. We have also made enquires with the Assay office on how mutual recognition will work between countries on how they will view the hallmark.”

 

Andrew Morton said,

 “We are even more focused on improving our offer to ensure that we remain best in class for service, newness and supply solutions to our customer base. We have some exciting, innovative developments in new products and services across the Group. And we will also be reviewing our supply chain routes and processes, to ensure that we can maintain a continual supply of our high-quality products. The key for us is that we provide as much certainty for our customers as possible, during what looks set to be a turbulent and unpredictable period ahead.”

 

Mark Milton said,

 “We’re as prepared as we can be – we are dependent on many others, HM Customs particularly, and it’s not very clear how they will respond in a moment of crisis!”

  brexit customs border

What are your key concerns?

 Andrew Morton said,

 “The decision to leave the EU was taken democratically by the public; now the country needs its politicians to come together and be united, so that the UK gets the best possible outcome and so that we can restore much-needed confidence. 

 “We can already feel the effects of uncertainty and I think that is more damaging than anything. My main concern is that, as a result of this uncertainty, 2019/20 will be very difficult trading years.”

 

Gary Wroe said,

 The main concern for our business is delays, caused at the border, in delivering goods to customers. We work extremely hard to meet customer delivery dates and the last thing we want is for the goods to be held up in any way.

 

What areas of your business will be most affected by Brexit?

 Gary Wroe said,

 “One major area of the business that may be affected is the logistics side and ensuring we are ready for the changes that are made. We believe we are in a strong position and ready.”

 

Harry Levy said,

 “The jewellery trade is totally dependent on imports for its components… except for recycled gold. Goods coming from the EU attracted minimum paperwork, and if one had a UK Vat number – no outlay of VAT on imports. Many companies wishing to trade with UK companies opened offices in the EU or worked with EU companies.

 “In the case of diamonds, this meant Antwerp became a hub. If we leave the EU the Antwerp facility will no longer be available. I suspect many UK companies will cease to import and rely on local dealers. Thus, there will be significant changes to our trade.”

 

Mark Milton, said

 “There are two main issues – delays and costs. These are both exacerbated by the uncertainty around what will actually happen and what the procedures, duties and charges will be. There is already a threat to our export business to the EU, especially to Eire where just the fear of possible extra administration and costs is driving some customers to consider local or other European alternatives.”

 “We fear a proportion of our EU sales will be lost – at least temporarily but we are doing all we can to reduce the impact. For importation we expect extensive delays at Customs if there is a no-deal scenario and coming at a vital moment in the year’s trade, this would be damaging.”

 “For our imports from Europe – we expect increased costs in tariffs and some impact on cash flow with taxes being payable on arrival. We are prepared for this, however some of the cost increases will work their way through to the consumer prices in the next months.”

  Brexit Evemt

Have you been 'looking at this' for some time or has it been more a case of 'wait and see' and now it's pretty urgent?

 Gary Wroe said,

 “I think most businesses have been looking at this for a while – trying to prepare is increasingly difficult as we have and are still having mixed messages from the Government about how we will be leaving the EU, deal, no deal, another referendum, election. We are now weeks away from the deadline and there is still no certainty. Businesses need stability to plan and while there are no fixed plans we have to adapt the best we can.”

  

What support are you providing for your customers re Brexit?

 Gary Wroe said,

 “Customers have been contacting us about Brexit and we have been giving them as much information as we have about deliveries, hallmarking and time scales. But the main question they ask is what will happen on the 31st – I just wish I could answer!”

 

Mark Milton said,

 “For our export customers we have promised to help in any way we can with the administration etc. That is we will share the pain to keep business flowing. We have to some extent changed our shipment methods (away from the Mail) to carriers who are more efficient with Customs clearance procedures.”

 “For our UK customers we will absorb all the difficulties for them this side of Christmas and complete all orders as promised and on time.”

 

 What preparation are you asking of your suppliers?

 Gary Wroe said,

 “Hockley Mint is working hard to ensure that we adhere to customers delivery times within budget. Along the supply chain we all have to work together to make the delivery. Business will adapt and overcome most hurdles that are set before us and at Hockley Mint we’re determined to drive our service, quality and craftsmanship forward.”

 

Mark Milton said,

 “We have called forward whatever deliveries we can to be in, and through Customs, before 31st October in time for all our Christmas orders.”

 

 I imagine that the B-word comes up from time to time?

“At the moment it comes up all the time! We are suggesting that it’s not worth worrying about problems you cannot define in advance and that where possible we pass on that it’s “business as usual”, as uncertainty and worrying can be transmitted to the customer leading to a loss of confidence and in some cases no sale where there would have been one.

"Do you think the UK jewellery industry as a whole will be negatively impacted by the UK leaving the EU (and the uncertainty leading up to this point?) ie loss of faith in precious metals/gemstones/jewellery from UK companies?

 “Yes, UK industries as a whole will be negatively impacted for all the reasons above. But no, I don’t believe this loss will be more heavily felt in the precious sector than any other. And this is not a long-term reason for UK companies to be viewed detrimentally – what doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger!”

 

 Ends