The States of Guernsey has been working closely with the UK Government, alongside Jersey and the Isle of Man, to ensure that trade continues to flow between the islands and our trading partners in the UK and EU post-Brexit. On this page you'll find information and documents relating to our work in this crucial area, including guidance for traders preparing for the UK's exit from the EU.
Brexit from a business perspective
Ensuring there is as little disruption to trade as possible has been a strategic focus for the States of Guernsey throughout our work to prepare for Brexit. Our priorities in this area have included working with the UK Government to secure an extension of its WTO membership to the islands, ensuring the continued tariff-free movement of goods between the Bailiwick, the UK, Jersey and the Isle of Man by agreeing the formation of a new joint customs union to take effect on exit day, and putting in place the necessary legislation to ensure the continual free-flow of data post-Brexit.
A guide for businesses
- The following document provides a quick guide for businesses based in Guernsey about the UK's planned exit from the EU on 31 October 2019. It is important to consider what impact a no deal Brexit could have on your business and how this differs from the impacts that were anticipated in March 2019. The following information may be helpful to understand how leaving the EU may affect your business and any amendments that you might need to make to existing contingency plans. Preparing for a 'no-deal' Brexit on October 31st 2019 [506kb]
- The following document sets out information relating to Customs & Excise to help businesses and individuals understand the various scenarios that could impact trade, in order that they can make informed plans and preparations. This notice identifies key areas of customs-related business that may be affected: Guernsey Customs Brexit Preparations [1Mb]
- A high-level arrangement was signed in November 2018 to form a joint customs union between the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. On exit from the EU, this arrangement will take effect and allow tariff-free movement of goods between the four territories of the custom union. You can read the text of the agreement here.
- If the UK leaves in the EU without a deal, it would mean the 'free circulation' of goods between the Bailiwick and EU would stop. Guidance has been issued by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to inform businesses of the implications for the trade in goods between the UK and EU countries in a no deal scenario. Please note this guidance was written for UK businesses, however much of it is relevant to Guernsey traders too: HMRC advice on trade in event of no deal exit
- In the event of a no deal exit the UK will apply temporary rates of customs duty (tariffs) on imports. The UK has published its tariff schedule and that can be found here. Exports from the Bailiwick into the UK will not be subject to these tariffs as a result of the joint customs union agreed (referenced above).
World Trade Organization
- Current position - Bailiwick trade in goods and services
- For the last 40-plus years, Guernsey has enjoyed a free and frictionless flow of goods between the UK and the EU. In accordance with the UK's Treaty of Accession, Protocol 3, Guernsey is able to trade in agricultural and industrial goods within the EU. Protocol 3 also places the Bailiwick, Jersey and the Isle of Man in the EU Customs Union, allowing the free movement of goods.
- However, the trade in services originating from Guernsey falls outside of the scope of Protocol 3. Guernsey is a significant exporter of services both within the EU and globally in certain industry sectors. The island works closely with the EU and where necessary adheres to, or applies, equivalent controls to facilitate trade with EU Member States.
- Future position - trading after Brexit
- As the UK withdrawals from the EU, the current customs arrangements will cease. Guernsey has considered its own future customs arrangements post-Brexit in relation to both goods and services. The States of Guernsey decided in February 2019 to formally request that the UK extend the territorial scope of its World Trade Organization (WTO) membership to include the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
- Extending the UK's WTO membership will play an important role in the future of the Bailiwick's trading relationships with other jurisdictions. This objective is a key part of the States of Guernsey's Brexit planning and risk mitigation strategy. Extending the UK's membership will provide Bailiwick companies with access to global rules on the trade in goods, services and IP with other WTO members, including EU Member States and the majority of countries worldwide. It will help to provide certainty for businesses, especially in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
- Following the States' decision to formally request WTO extension, Guernsey officials have worked closely with the UK's Department for International Trade to progress the steps required to ensure the extended membership is in place when the UK becomes an independently represented member of the WTO upon exit day.
- For more information, you can read the Policy & Resources Committee's policy letter ' Extending the United Kingdom's membership of the World Trade Organization' here: WTO extension policy letter
- For further information in relation to the UK's current WTO Commitments in relation to Goods, Services and IP please click on the following link
Movement of agricultural, fisheries, horticultural, food and feed product post-Brexit
- Guernsey currently enjoys the free movement of agricultural, fisheries, horticultural, food and feed products ('agri-foods') with the EU under Protocol 3. It is important for trade and non-trade matters that current access rights are maintained as much as possible after Brexit.
- Guernsey officials have been working closely with colleagues from Jersey, the Isle of Man and the UK's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to make sure all necessary processes are in place to protect existing trading relationships, wherever possible.
- However, being a third country to the EU means that some rules or practices may change. There may be different requirements depending on the type of agri-food being moved, the type of movements, (for trade/commercial matters, or for non-trade matters such as the temporary movement of pets into the EU to accompany an owner on holiday), and whether the UK, and in turn Guernsey, has been able to secure third party access rights to trade with the EU.
- Within Guernsey, expertise is split across several government committees, and some policy areas cut across multiples committees, but an indicative guide for who to contact in the first instance for further information is:
- Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure (for veterinary and agriculture matters) by calling (01481) 234567.
- Health & Social Care (for food, feed, environmental health/hygiene matters) via email email@example.com or telephone (01481) 711161.
- Economic Development Committee (for fisheries and horticulture matters) by calling (01481) 234567.
Movement of data
- The Law
- The States of Guernsey approved a new data protection law in November 2017, which had been drafted to align the Bailiwick's legislation with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation. You can read The Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017, and an explanatory note about it, here: The Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017
- Exchanging data with the EU and UK
- The Bailiwick of Guernsey is neither part of the United Kingdom or the European Union. For the purposes of personal data protection, the Bailiwick is a third country to the EU. Guernsey has a well-established personal data protection regime, which has been recognised as "adequate" by the European Commission since 21 November 2003. Brexit does not alter this position.
- Guernsey has prepared additional legislation in anticipation of the UK's exit from the EU. This additional legislation safeguards the flow of data between the Bailiwick and the UK following Brexit. The Data Protection (Authorised Jurisdiction) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2019, designated the UK as an authorised jurisdiction to which personal data can be transferred freely from the Bailiwick after the UK exits the EU. The Ordinance is not sector specific and applies to the transfer of all personal data from the Bailiwick to the UK.