Tag Archive | "brexit"

BREXIT: UNCERTAINTY AND BUSINESSES CONTRACTS

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BREXIT: UNCERTAINTY AND BUSINESSES CONTRACTS


By Lindsay Ellis – Lindsay Ellis advises on a range of legal matters, including outsourcing, procurement and commercial contracts for Warwickshire solicitor firm Wright Hassall 

Lindsay Ellis

Uncertainty surrounds the timing of Brexit, but when it does happen, there will undoubtedly be an impact on UK businesses and their contracts. It is important that organisations consider how Brexit might affect existing contracts.

Existing contracts

For many businesses, Brexit could impact their supply chain and they should consider the performance of obligations by subcontractors and suppliers. Other key areas to consider include; term, territory, currency, tariffs, customs clearance, resources, licensing/ consents and tax. Failure to review and plan for these could result in increased costs and/or damage to business performance.

Force majeure 

A contract typically contains force majeure clauses. Depending on the drafting, these can relieve a party from liability for a breach resulting from ‘circumstances beyond its reasonable control’. However, if Brexit was likely when the contract was agreed, it could be argued the parties should have planned for its effects. Without a specific reference to Brexit, force majeure clauses are unlikely to help of itself, but depending how the clause was drafted, it might address delays in delivery of goods due to crossborder issues.

Compliance with law clauses

Many contracts state that parties must comply with applicable law. It will be a matter of interpretation whether such a clause could oblige a party to absorb the costs associated with Brexit-related changes in law. Long-term contracts typically address what will happen if the law changes, often specifying that charges can only be increased in limited circumstances, with the supplier required to consult with the customer before making any changes.

Termination 

The contract may include scope for termination, by either party. This may be in connection with circumstances arising from Brexit related events or a failure to agree a change. If a contract’s termination clause gives a party a right to terminate on relatively short notice, the prospect of termination can always be raised to encourage negotiation.

Common law and frustration

Frustration arises where an event occurs after the date of the contract, radically transforming the obligations of either party or making it impossible to fulfil the contract. However, a contract is not frustrated due to inconvenience, hardship, financial loss or when the event should have been foreseen by the parties. As such, it is generally accepted that frustration will not help with Brexit, although it might apply if certain changes in law were to be made subsequently, which would make it impossible to fulfil a contract.

Interpretation and implied terms

The courts are unlikely to interpret a contract or imply a term to assist a party adversely affected by Brexit and will not relieve a party from the consequences of their poor business practices, if that involves departing from the natural meaning of the contract. Similarly, the fairness of a proposed implied term or the fact that the parties would agree to it is insufficient grounds for implying it. Both interpretation and implication of terms have regard to the background knowledge reasonably available to the parties at the time they entered the contract.

What are the options?

By not drafting contracts that address Brexit uncertainty, there is a risk that a party will be obliged to continue to fulfil its contractual obligations, even if Brexit-related events render it commercially unattractive. However, doing nothing may be an option for a party who can terminate contracts at short notice or are confident in their ability to perform regardless of Brexit’s outcome.

‘Brexit’ clause

Inserting a ‘Brexit clause’ into contracts will trigger some change in the parties’ rights and obligations when a defined event occurs. The best a Brexit clause may offer is a binding requirement for the parties to try and renegotiate the contract. For other contracts, it may be possible to specify the consequences of certain events, but with Brexit, there is the risk that events occur that have not been first considered.

Making changes

Organisations must take the time to review their existing commercial contracts, ensuring every possible outcome is accounted for and the necessary clauses are added. Seek advice from experienced contract lawyers and plan for life after Brexit, sooner rather than later.

 

 

 

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BREXIT: ALIGNMENT SUPPLIER TRIPLES STOCK LEVELS

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BREXIT: ALIGNMENT SUPPLIER TRIPLES STOCK LEVELS


Four wheel alignment technology supplier Absolute Alignment has announced that it has tripled its stock levels over the past three months in preparation for Brexit.

The firm say that the stockpiling will ensure next-day delivery is unaffected throughout the spring season for all items featured on the Absolute Alignment website.

Chris Deal, Technical Director for Absolute Alignment, said: “It’s of great importance to us that our speed of service is not in any way impacted by Brexit and the uncertainties that may bring.”

Dear also specifically highlighted the importance of appropriate stock levels of its Bluetooth Pro wheel aligners, which is the firm’s most popular and fastest-selling product in the UK.

 

 

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BREXIT: RHINO PRODUCTS OPENS EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTION CENTRE

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BREXIT: RHINO PRODUCTS OPENS EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTION CENTRE


Deeside-based LCV accessory manufacturer Rhino Products has opened a distribution centre at Venlo-Grubbenvorst in the Netherlands ahead of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the European Union at the end of March.

This 1.100 sq. m warehousing facility is now the headquarters for the Group’s European operations, alongside an existing warehouse in Mölnlycke, Sweden and a further sales office in Kraków, Poland. All manufacturing for the group takes place at its UK head office and production site in Deeside, Flintshire.

READ: BREXIT: ARNOLD CLARK TO INCREASE STOCKHOLDING 

Rhino’s Group Managing Director Steve Egerton explained: “The opening of this warehousing facility is just one of many important steps we are taking to prepare for any potential scenario as the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union are finalised. Whatever the political outcome, Rhino will be ready, and we are looking forward to another year of growth and expansion”.

The move to the distribution centre also coincided with Rhino switching to DPD as its central European logistics partner.

READ: BREXIT: WILLIAMSON’S WARNING TO GOVERNMENT AT IAAF CONFERENCE

New plant in the Netherlands

 

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BREXIT: ARNOLD CLARK GROUP FACTORS TO INCREASE STOCKHOLDING

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BREXIT: ARNOLD CLARK GROUP FACTORS TO INCREASE STOCKHOLDING


Arnold Clark factors Midwest and Autoparts UK have confirmed that they are to increase stockholding by a quarter ahead of Brexit.

In Glasgow, Autoparts’ central distribution hub has installed a new mezzanine floor and all branches throughout Scotland and Northern England are increasing stock levels.

Additional stock is also being put into Midwest Motor Factors and Monmore Auto Parts branches.

Craig McCracken, Autoparts UK Group Factor Manager, said: “Whatever the outcome, we’re making sure independent garages continue to enjoy an uninterrupted supply of products. This latest development sends out a clear message to the industry – and our customers – that Autoparts UK, Midwest and Monmore are proactively taking every step to ensure product availability remains at their highest levels possible”.

Stockholding to increase by 25 percent at main DC

 

READ:  OBITUARY: ARNOLD CLARK

READ: ARNOLD CLARK ACQUIRES MIDWEST MOTOR FACTORS

READ: AFTERMARKET LIVES: AUTOPARTS UK

 

 

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IAAF CONFERENCE: WILLIAMSON’S WARNINGS ON  BREXIT AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION

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IAAF CONFERENCE: WILLIAMSON’S WARNINGS ON BREXIT AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION


The Chief Executive of the IAAF has opened the annual conference with warnings on a number of industry topics including the EU negotiations and VMs infringing on independent garage’s  right to repair.

On the subject of Brexit she warned: “If the deal is rejected the we will all be entering into the unknown”

Speaking about access to information, Williamson noted that several vehicle manufacturers have already deleted the OBD port, despite being obliged to keep it. She emphasised how keeping ‘three priorities’ on direct access to data as a live issue in the European Parliament by working with other trade organisations such as FIGEFA.

She noted that ‘many traditional parts won’t exist in the future’, adding that new entrant to the market such as Dyson and the rise of Chinese brands will be a significant challenge for the VMs. She concluded: “We will adapt and find new ways to find and service the vehicles of tomorrow”.

The conference continues.

 

Williamson opens 2018 conference

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NO ‘BREXIT DIVIDEND’ EXISTS, SAYS SMMT CHIEF

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NO ‘BREXIT DIVIDEND’ EXISTS, SAYS SMMT CHIEF


The Chief Executive of SMMT has spoken candidly about the issues facing the motor industry as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union.

“Leaving is not what we wanted. For us, Brexit is about damage limitation. There is no ‘Brexit dividend’” Mike Hawes told an audience at the Society’s annual dinner on Tuesday night.

Pressing the need for parliament to pass the draft proposal bill, he said: We need a deal – now. And that deal must be ambitious for the future. We need frictionless trade with our most important market. Nothing less will do”.

Pressing home the message, he added. “This industry has always had political support – here and across the EU. Now, more than ever, we need that support. To avoid catastrophe; to give us breathing space, to deliver a competitive future. It’s time to decide”.

Business secretary Greg Clarke also addressed the room, and gave his support for the Prime Minister’s plans. “I remember being on the phone to Mike (Hawes)’s team for data on the way to Chequers and presenting it, and then on the phone to his team again the next morning to discuss what we agreed. It was central to the clear and unflinching objective that we set to secure frictionless trade on which this industry absolutely depends” he said.   

 

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DUTCH TRADE BODY TALK BREXIT WITH IGA

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DUTCH TRADE BODY TALK BREXIT WITH IGA


Dutch garage trade group BOVAG (BOnd Van Automobielhandelaren en Garagehouders)  – has completed a nationwide tour of British garages to discuss future working relationships ahead of Brexit.

The BOVAG team joined up with the Independent Garage Association (IGA) during the trip. The visitors gained insight into the management of British independent garage businesses and discussed issues affecting the industry including MOT testing and access to technical information. The groups also discussed Brexit and the implications for their working relationship.

Stuart James, Director of the IGA said: “This co-operation with our European colleagues is a positive step towards maintaining strong partnerships throughout and beyond the Brexit process.”

Meanwhile, Gerard ten Buuren, Chair of BOVAG’s Independent Garage Division, said the team “gained a tremendous amount” from the visit and is “delighted” to continue working alongside the IGA.

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UK TRADE SHOW RETURNS TO BIRMINGHAM

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UK TRADE SHOW RETURNS TO BIRMINGHAM


PROMO ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF AUTOMECHANIKA BIRMINGHAM

This summer, Birmingham will again become the central hub for the UK’s automotive industry as it unites with Automechanika Birmingham, bringing thousands of visitors to the region.

For the third year running, the UK’s leading trade exhibition for the automotive industry will be making a welcome return to Birmingham NEC on 5 to 7June, where an increase in visitors is anticipated thanks to a raft of new initiatives, networking opportunities and extended opening hours for automotive repair garages.

With UK manufacturing continuing to climb up the global rankings in a post-Brexit era, it currently helps power the engine of the West Midlands (£17.5 billion) and East Midlands (£15.9 billion), with their strength across the aerospace and automotive sectors.

With this in mind, Automechanika Birmingham represents the ideal opportunity to continue to support this growing market in a central, accessible and relevant location, also bringing the sector to a city synonymous with the motor trade with the region’s heritage immersed in automotive growth and success.

To help leverage this global economic potential, this year’s event is launching a facilitated meetings programme to allow visitors to pre-arrange meetings with exhibitors, ensuring that visitors maximise their time and an increase of business conversations are held on exhibitor stands.

More than 500 exhibitors are due to attend for 2018, with 85% of 2017 visitors intending to return to the exhibition, which will house a newly improved layout.

What’s more, organisers at this year’s show have widened the appeal across the aftermarket sector, including a new, dedicated Garage Quarter, hosting tools and garage equipment suppliers looking to meet the growing number of independent garages attending the event.

The West Midlands is no stranger to the automotive trade with global brands Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC, MG Rover Group and more recently Aston Martin dominating the UK automotive industry’s history.

Simon Albert, Event Director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “After last year’s success with a turnout of around 12,000 visitors, we’ve no doubt that this year’s event will cement Automechanika Birmingham’s’ position as the UK’s most valuable meeting place for the automotive industry, uniting the very best of the UK aftermarket and vehicle production sector.

“The importance of the UK automotive industry to the economy is evident, particularly now more than ever. As we believe the sector will provide a key role in our global economic standing, we’re now calling on regional businesses to get behind the event and support the UK automotive industry.”
Many of the exhibitors will announce special show deals, offers and competitions in time for the show. Visitors can benefit from an enhanced programme of live events featuring live technical demonstrations, free training and keynote speakers.

This year’s event at the NEC Birmingham, running from 5-7 June 2018, will welcome vehicle production exhibitors in Hall 6, aftermarket suppliers in Hall20 and a dedicated Garage Quarter in Hall 19.

Visitors looking to sign up can register for their free ticket here: https://www.automechanika-birmingham.com/welcome/get-your-free-ticket

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SMMT PRESIDENT: ‘CONCRETE PROGRESS’ NEEDED ON BREXIT

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SMMT PRESIDENT: ‘CONCRETE PROGRESS’ NEEDED ON BREXIT


The 101st SMMT dinner was interrupted before it had even started by Greenpeace protesters who managed to get on stage with a ‘Toxic Air award’ for VW. It was clear from the outset that this was going to be a politically charged event.

Mike Hawes, Tony Walker and Jennifer Saunders at SMMT Dinner 2017

Greenpeace invaded SMMT Dinner to present VW with ‘Toxic Air Award’.

Tony Walker delivered speech about the need for ‘concrete progress’ on Brexit

 

Following an introduction by Jennifer Saunders, SMMT Chief Exec, Mike Hawes took to the stage to talk about what he saw as the dangers of ‘demonising’ diesel. “Customers are not moving straight from diesel to electric. They are switching to petrol or are staying put in their older cars” he said, adding that the decision in the budget to increase tax on diesel cars leads to a falling market and a, conversely, rise in CO2 emissions. “This is not a policy without consequences. It has to stop” he said.

Business Minister, Greg Clark made a speech in which he acknowledged that the car industry was of ‘fundamental importance to the British economy’. He added that there was an industrial strategy in place, which ‘in many ways’ had been inspired by the motor industry.  

However, SMMT President Tony Walker warned of the dangers of a no-deal situation and a 10 percent tariff on exports. “Competitiveness comes hard-won. It can be easily lost” he said. “A hard Brexit would undermine all that we have collectively achieved. It is a real threat – a hurdle we cannot ignore.” He acknowledged that it was Government policy ’not to fall over a cliff edge’ but there needed to be evidence of ‘concrete progress – and quickly’.

Walker expanded that falling consumer confidence, uncertainty about Brexit and market confusion over diesel have taken their toll on sales domestically, and that the threat of trade barriers was putting the ‘export-led renaissance’  of the UK’s manufacturing base. “Our supply chains are integrated with Europe and well developed over time” he said. “We cannot disrupt them…We do not need trade barriers to be our next challenge”.

 

 

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IAAF CONFERENCE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED

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IAAF CONFERENCE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED


The proceedings for the IAAF’s Annual Conference are well underway with a variety of industry speakers set to take centre stage and discuss the ‘real’ issues affecting the aftermarket, post Brexit.

So far, confirmed speakers include Dr. Julia Saini (Frost and Sullivan), Allistair Preston (whocanfixmycar) as well as Steve Nash (IMI), Olaf Heffing (Mahle) and more. The event will be facilitated by racing car legend Johnny Herbert who will help debate other topics on the federation’s agenda including the Connected Car and the government’s recent announcement for the abolishment of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

IAAF Chief Exec Wendy Williamson said, “The expertise, experience and insight provided by our speakers will, I believe, feature in the future strategic planning of all those that attend”, she added. “We’re looking to the future, but we also recognise the pressures faced by our members today and will aim to provide some clarity and insight into these challenges”.

This year’s conference will take place at the Players Suite, Double Tree by Hilton on Thursday 7th December. For those invited, don’t forget your black tie!

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