UPDATE: Oct. 17, 2019: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced Thursday the U.K. and European Union had reached a Brexit deal. Johnson said he hopes Parliament will pass the deal this Saturday. This will be just the third time the legislative body has met on a Saturday since World War II, according to CNN. The deal removed the "backstop" found in Theresa May's deal that would have kept the U.K. in the EU's customs union. Now just Northern Ireland will remain in this customs union, according to Business Insider. The full text of the deal can be found here.
- On Oct. 28, the United Kingdom will reinstate Operation Brock, a plan meant to keep traffic moving in the event of freight backups at the Port of Dover once Brexit officially takes place.
- It has also released letters of advice this week for businesses that trade with the European Union, outlining importer and exporter requirements. This includes needing to check the tariff rates after Brexit to see which duties to pay.
- The U.K. Revenue and Customs department has automatically registered 95,000 businesses for Transitional Simplified Procedures, which will give importers six months to declare imports and pay duties, the agency announced this week.
These preparations are occurring as reports indicate Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be on the verge of a deal with European diplomats. Details of the negotiations haven't been released and questions have lingered about how any potential deal will treat the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, according to The Wall Street Journal.
As the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline approaches, some worry the deal would not make it through the U.K. Parliament where a plan presented by Theresa May failed multiple times.
Johnson is reportedly pushing to finalize a deal before a European Council meeting scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Brussels. Brexit is one of five items on the council agenda, which says leaders will " discuss the state of play regarding Brexit."
This is not the first time the U.K. has had to put these kinds of plans in place.
Operation Brock was active on the M20 motorway from March 25 until early April when the European Commission agreed to extend the Brexit deadline.
The scene unfolding across the Atlantic presents a sense of déjà vu, but businesses in the region continue to voice concern. Trade operations after the Brexit deadline in about two weeks remains unclear.
"Importers and exporters are in limbo, and many are postponing investment decisions, while they await further information," Edward Winterton, the UK chief executive for Bibby Financial Services, said in a statement. "Many others are focusing resources on ensuring they’re prepared to deal with the potential impacts of a no-deal scenario."