Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is demanding answers to 20 critical Brexit-related questions facing businesses.

It is writing to the county’s six MPs, asking them to put pressure on ministers to provide clarity to help businesses plan for Brexit more effectively.

The questions relate to tariffs, rules of origin, borders and customs, inspections, declarations, business travel, regulatory agencies, dispute resolution and other issues should the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement on March 29.

Rob Johnston, the chamber’s chief executive, said: “Many of the unanswered questions reflect fundamental aspects of how companies operate.

“For example, we need to know what trade agreements will be in place with countries outside the EU, whether and how firms can move skilled staff between the UK and EU, and which regulations they will need to follow.

“We know from our survey of Cumbrian businesses that nearly half haven’t started Brexit preparations yet. In most cases, this is because they can’t access the information they need.”

He added: “The chamber hasn’t taken a position for or against Brexit because we know businesses are divided on the issue.

“But the absence of clarity on key questions is stifling investment and growth and is damaging businesses, which is why Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has joined chambers across the UK to demand that ministers provide unambiguous guidance.”

The chamber has organised a Brexit breakfast briefing for businesses with the law firm Muckle LLP at Carlisle Racecourse.

Preparing your business for Brexit will be held on Thursday February 28.

The event will feature expert insight from Luke Donockley and Robin Adams, solicitors in Muckle LLP’s commercial team. Businesses can register to attend via

Mr Johnston said: “With the clock ticking inexorably towards March 29, this event is highly relevant to many businesses.

“Even if your business doesn’t import or export you may be affected by Brexit if your suppliers do or if you supply another business that does.”

The questions are:


  • What tariffs will my company need to pay when importing goods to the UK from the EU and rest of the world?
  • When will the UK Government launch an official market access database to provide this information?

Rules of origin

  • If any trade agreements with third countries are operational on the day after Brexit, what rules of origin will I need to comply with?


  • Will I still be able to fly people and/or goods between the UK and the EU after Brexit day – or could travel be disrupted?

Borders and customs

  • I know I will need to register for an EORI number. How simple will it be for me to register for any other new registration requirements or processes?
  • How will my lead times be impacted by new customs procedures?

Continuity of EU FTAs

  • Will any of the agreements be rolled over or replaced on a bilateral basis in the event of no deal?
  • Will I be able to use any trade preferences with any markets?
  • Will there be confirmation that I will be able to continue importing tariff free goods from developing and least developed countries under the generalised system of preferences (GSP) programme after March 29 2019?


  • Will there be new safety and security requirements and inspections at the UK-EU border that my company will need to deal with? Where will inspections be held?


  • What system will I be using to input customs data - will HMRC’s new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) be ready in time for March 29 2019?


  • What procedures will my company face trading between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?
  • Will this be different to operating at any other UK border?

Business travel

  • Will staff spending longer than 90 out of 180 days in the EU be subject to further administration, costs or visas?

Staff transfers

  • Will my business be able to move skilled staff members between the UK and the EU after 29 March and if so, under what conditions?

Regulatory agencies

  • Which regulator will be overseeing my business after March 29 2019 and what rules do I need to follow?
  • Is the UK government going to charge businesses for the creation of new regulatory agencies in the UK?

Dispute resolution

  • If my company is in dispute with another in the EU, what form of resolution and means of redress will be available to my business after March 29 2019?

Mobile roaming

  • Will my business have to pay mobile roaming charges in the EU after March 29 2019?

Customer data

  • Will my business continue to be able to hold and transfer data and personal information without any interruptions after March 29 2019?