Having operated a number of leading logistics businesses ranging from handling operations to large haulage companies within one of the major sea ports in the UK for over 30 years therefore dealing on a daily basis with imported products from all over the world, including the EU, as well as dealing with exports to Europe and other parts of the world, I can confidently predict that there will not be chaos on 1st November 2019 if the country end up on WTO terms with the EU and that the date and the weeks thereafter will pass almost unnoticed without any major upheaval.
A WTO deal with the EU will mean that the UK would have greater flexibility to set its own trade tariffs and government has now set out its plans on how it would take advantage of that opportunity.
Government has already stated that it will cut tariffs to zero on 87% of the goods it imports if the UK leaves the European Union on WTO rules which is fantastic for UK citizens.
Having had clients for many years who import product and various commodities from countries all over the world, if tariffs apply to particular products a simple online customs system is in place to work out in advance the final cost including any tariffs and VAT to the customer for that particular import. Even if a tariff is placed upon a commodity which was previously tariff free then it makes little difference to the individual cost of each item by the time it reaches the public.
Once GB leaves the EU on WTO terms then we immediately remove ourselves from having to get another 27 countries to agree to our view on which products require tariffs placed upon them and which do not. As a country the UK have traded with the rest of the world long before the EU was invented and will continue to do so in the future unencumbered and being in control of our own sovereignty.
The government may need to offer short term support to specific industries if the EU decided to place tariffs on certain products but as we know this is highly unlikely to happen due to the fact that we purchase considerably more goods from the EU that we sell to them.
As with any negotiations each side need to act as tough as possible in their negotiations however they both need to compromise to keep their industries moving. Following a successful exit on 31st Oct I expect some UK exports to be diverted to the home market and other destinations whilst some EU imports will be displaced by UK production and imports from third party countries which will be helped by a slightly weaker pound n the short term.
I don't see any reason to be worried about leaving the EU on WTO terms and having traded from within the heart of a major sea port for over three decades I feel that people need to be more positive and aware of the facts rather than listen to unrealistic scare mongering on News channels.
Founder of Various Logistical Organisations