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Govt issues ‘no deal’ guidance for local businesses

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

The Gibraltar Government has issued guidance for local businesses in the event negotiators fail to reach agreement on a UK/EU treaty for Gibraltar.

The advice aims to encourage businesses to look carefully at potential problems that may arise for their operations if negotiations end without a deal and transitional provisions cease to apply.

In a ‘no deal’ scenario, longer frontier queues can be expected as a result of Schengen controls including the systematic scanning and stamping of passports, the Government said.

While detailed traffic management plans have been prepared, these will serve solely to mitigate the impact, it added.

“The delays that are to be expected have the potential to disrupt businesses, particularly those which employ significant numbers from across the border or those whose customers are primarily made up of visitors to Gibraltar,” the government said.

“It is because of this expected disruption that business should do their utmost to try to manage, as far as possible, the difficulties which have been foreseen.”

“For example, it would be prudent for businesses to identify staff members who live across the border and consult them on the ways which employers can facilitate their day-to-day management of commutes.”

The Government also encouraged the introduction of flexible hours to alleviate potential delays because of border queues.

With respect to frontier workers providing essential services, such as healthcare services, the Government has in place plans to house a sufficient number of workers to cover key services in an emergency scenario.

On the movement of goods, the only products affected will be UK products of animal origin.

“If coming from the UK via the customs territory of the EU, such products have, since 1 January 2021, had to be cleared at the Algeciras Border Control Post,” the Technical Notice said.

“Upon clearance, consignments make their way to Gibraltar by ferry and these are unloaded with the assistance of new port facilities installed last year. The service provided by the ferry is now privately funded by those companies that make use of it.”

The Government said no further changes are anticipated in the case of a ‘no deal’ regarding the movement of goods.

But in the event of a ‘no deal’, holders of Gibraltar licences issued to road haulage operators, and to bus and coach operators, will no longer have a legal entitlement to operate in Spain or the EU.

Businesses have been asked to prepare by making arrangements for operations conducted on EU territory to be carried out by appropriately licenced operators.

When it comes to Gibraltar’s waste, a ‘no deal’ will still mean Gibraltar can legally export waste to facilities in Spain, but as a matter of prudence the Government has explored other options.

“It is of fundamental importance for the business community to, on the basis of the guidance provided, prepare itself for the possibility of a [Non-Negotiated Outcome] NNO,” the Government said.

“This will mitigate the effect of no treaty to the greatest extent possible. It will clearly be impossible to mitigate those effects completely because in many areas the new situation will simply reflect the new position outside of the EU.”

The full guidance issued by No.6 Convent Place is available on the Gibraltar Government’s website.

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