Why invest in the Czech Republic?

The Czech Republic as a country in the heart of Europe has always been an attractive destination for starting a business for many foreigners. The country is a member of the European Union, offers favourable and safe business environment, skilled workforce, stable legal system, a very high level of general safety for living, good quality of life and strategic location. Its stable economy and developed infrastructure allow investors to peacefully conduct their business. For UK companies seeking to expand their horizons, the Czech Republic offers a promising landscape. Due to its location, it can be considered a gateway to a vast EU market of 440 million consumers.

investments czech republic

Staying in the Czech Republic while establishing a business involves considerations based on EU citizenship (can stay without a visa but may apply for a Certificate of Temporary Residence for over 3 months) or being from a third country (including UK citizens) require a visa for 90+ days, followed by a long-term residence permit. Business forms include self-employment (trade license), General Commercial Partnership (rare), Limited Partnership (limited and general partners), Limited Liability Company (shareholder liability limited to unpaid contributions), and Joint Stock Company (complex, high capital requirement). Registered Branch of a Foreign Company offers a simplified option, though it doesn’t have separate legal status. After business establishment, tax registration (corporate income tax 19%, rising to 21% in 2024), bank account opening, and legal preparations for a successful running of the new business are necessary.

There is also the possibility to apply for and get government incentives for technology centres, business support service centres, production of strategic products and manufacturing industry and grants available for new businesses.

Government incentives are provided under the Act on Investment Incentives, and consist of:

–       income tax relief for up to ten years for a new company established for an investment project and partial tax relief for up to ten years for an existing company which will be expanding an investment project;

–       cash grant for up to 20% of capital investment in certain strategic projects;

–       employment subsidies in the form of grants for job creation and training with respect to technology centres (available only in regions with high unemployment rates).

The Czech Republic’s real estate market offers a compelling blend of economic stability, growth potential, and favourable regulations for international investors. In 2020 and 2021, real estate prices have increased extremely. … Over the last year, the price of apartments fell by 8.4%, therefore it is good time to invest.


Mgr. Eliska Valickova

co-founder of  ME:LEGAL s.r.o., advokatni kancelar – law firm based in Czech Republic

ME:LEGAL is helping its clients with all their day-to-day business needs and offers them client-oriented legal services. The team is experienced in various fields of practice and is therefore able to provide its clients not only with the establishment of their business but also with the further growth of their business and their needs. The expertise includes business law (together with contractual law, corporate law and employment law), real estate law and providing legal support to hotels and restaurants.

(photo source: bearfotos/Freepik)

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CPTPP: Free Trade Agreement

The UK has reached an agreement in principle to join the CPTPP.  It is a landmark move reaffirming the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region which is seen as a key economic and security priority for the UK.

CPTTP is a trade bloc comprising 11 sovereign countries with a combined GDP of £11trillion once the UK joins. Current members are Japan, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay have formally applied to join. Thailand, The Philippines and South Korea have also expressed interest in joining.

CPTPP economies account for 15% of global trade and 13% of global GDP.

The Corporation of London says, accession will help the UK to become a leader in digital trade with modern rules on data and freer access to each other’s services sectors, while ensuring that UK data and intellectual property are safe.

The Indo-Pacific region is predicted to account for 2/3rd of the global middle class by 2030 and more than half of the global economy by 2040.  Joining the CPTPP means that UK business can sell nearly all their goods without tariffs to 500m customers.

CPTPP opens up the potential for easier imports and exports to and from CPTPP markets and the manufacturing of higher quality goods like the automotive industry capitalising on closer trading relations with major car export destinations.

There are specific benefits for higher taxed industries such as financial services or spirits e.g. tax on Scotch whiskey in Malaysia could drop from 165% to 0%. However, there are possible downsides if sectors like agriculture are unable to compete with the large economies of scale achieved in Australia and New Zealand.

There are also possible benefits to services organisations (legal, financial, professional and technology) as the easing of  regulatory barriers will enable them to expand on £30bn of services currently exported to the region.

There is a benefit in the resource sector from, for example Chile and Vietnam, as countries which have access to rare earth minerals essential in high tech products.

The CPTPP recognises the challenges SMEs face in establishing export markets and includes outcomes to help make the task easier.

We continue to offer our services to assist you in an early breakthrough into this valuable region as a new market for your products and services.

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New Immigration Applications for the Post-Brexit world

What does the UK’s post-Brexit immigration landscape look like? Certainly for European nationals the era of free-movement is over, however despite the long arguments about immigration control during these last few years, the immigration picture does look favourable for some.

Sponsorship Licence and Skilled Work

According to the released Home Office “Sponsorship Transparency Data” there has been a 3-fold increase in the number companies applying for a Sponsorship Licence to hire foreign workers, from approximately 2,000 per quarter before the Brexit-transition date, to 6,000 per quarter after the Brexit-transition date.

These figures clearly show that UK companies continue to need foreign workers to plug labour-shortage gaps, and with the ending of European free-movement these gaps are being plugged through the Sponsorship Licence scheme. Any UK employer looking to hire non-UK national staff needs to obtain a Home Office Sponsorship Licence. The main criteria for that application include proving to the Home Office that your business is a viable concern (in other words that you have the revenue and profit margins to take on the commitment of new hires), and that you will follow all the Home Office rules and regulations in relation to the licence, including Human Resources (HR) standards.

An application needs to supply certain key documents proving the financial health of the business, such as the latest accounts and Corporation Tax returns and bank statements. The rules a business needs to comply with are detailed, but broadly speaking they involve the company immediately reporting to the Home Office any issue with the foreign worker, or indeed reporting any problem with the compliance of the licence and the HR standards.

The most common form of Sponsorship Licence is what is known as the “Skilled Worker” licence. This is an important factor for businesses – this scheme is designed for the employment of highly skilled migrant workers, and not low-skilled workers. The Home Office publish a list of what constitutes highly skilled work, and there are roughly 65 different job titles ranging from; various management titles in the retail/hospitality and the corporate sectors, IT and digital services specialists, specific engineering or scientific positions, specific positions in healthcare, and many others. We are happy to have discussions with you about whether your intended hires can fall under one of these categories.

The Start-up and Innovator Visas

Another post-Brexit reform has been the introduction of the Start-up and Innovator visas. They are two different applications, though there is a great deal of similarity between them. The Start-up visa is aimed more towards young people who have no prior business experience such as University graduates. The applicant needs to put together a business plan that shows that their business idea is; a new idea, innovative, and commercially viable. This business plan needs to be endorsed by a reputable institution, and the most common endorsing body for the Start-up visa is the applicant’s former University. Indeed many UK Universities now have specialised teams to help guide their current and former students through the endorsing process, and the Universities have set this system up in partnership with the Home Office. There is no set investment amount required for the Start-up visa, which is one key factor different from the Innovator visa.

For the innovator visa an applicant needs a minimum of £50,000 to invest in their business idea, and this application is tailored more for experienced entrepreneurs. As such, the requirements for the business plan in this route are a little more stringent and obtaining the approval of an endorsing body can be a little more challenging. The most common endorsing body include the various start-up incubators or seed-capital investment funds around the UK, and each of these institutions has its own requirements for admission on to their programmes and have different processes for endorsing a business plan. bruno rodrigues solicitor However, one key element to the Innovator visa is that the business plan must be innovative – in other words your business idea must use a new technology, or comprise of a new product or be a business venture that is truly new to the UK market. The Brooke Consultancy can assist you in the process of putting your business plan together and liaising with endorsing bodies.



The immigration picture remains favourable for businesses who need to hire skilled foreign workers and for migrants with specialist knowledge and entrepreneurs with new ideas. At the Brooke Consultancy we would be happy to hear from you if you found this article interesting to solve your immigration needs.

– Bruno Rodrigues, The Brooke Consultancy

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UK: Employment relations now and then

I have been an Employment lawyer for over twenty years both in-house and as a partner in several central London law firms. In that time Employment law has changed dramatically.

To begin with the EU vastly increased employment rights and even though we have gone through Brexit we are still bound by EU Directives such as the much disliked Acquired Rights Directive (TUPE) or the Human Rights legislation. We remain tethered to these European laws even though we have left the EU.

Of equal importance is the Equality Act 2010 which incorporates in one single act all of the different strands of discrimination and adds further new claims such as associative discrimination and discrimination arising from a protected act.

In terms of employment litigation, no longer do Employment Tribunals fulfil their original purpose of being informal venues where employees can turn up unprepared on the day of the hearing with bundles of papers and without witness statements.  Employment Tribunals now follow almost the same rules as the civil courts in England and Wales.  Rightly or wrongly today’s employees know their rights and it is rare for either side not to have a barrister. There are also costs consequences if either party get it wrong or abuse the system.  It should also be borne in mind by employers though that Tribunals are often more generous in their attitude and interpretation towards employees.  All in all defending Employment Tribunal claims can be an expensive business.

In Autumn 2022 the Bank of England has warned us to expect two years of harsh recession and financial instability with interest rates soaring meaning that the costs of borrowing money will increase significantly which has knock on effects upon investment, loans and leasehold premises.

office environment

For employers this often means looking at ways to streamline their companies whether by outsourcing or restructuring. Inevitably this will mean redundancies and other job losses or closing down altogether.

Companies often hold the view that if they are in difficulty this means that they can side-step  the processes. This is untrue as a business will only escape liability if it is insolvent and has no assets. If a company needs to downsize it is always more cost efficient to conduct the process properly with clear communication networks for employees.

Transparency is key. This means not excluding affected employees from meetings and emails, and having whispered conversations behind closed doors which all create suspicion, division and rumours inevitably leading to problems within terms of employment

Some employers use the instruction to reduce headcount as an opportunity to get rid of the ‘old guard’ or underperforming employees without going through proper processes. This does not work and any attempts to side step due process will inevitably be picked up by employees’ legal representatives.

In cases of Individual terminations for senior employees or where it is necessary to strip out a layer of management this can potentially be achieved through short cuts such as ‘protected conversations or ‘without prejudice’ discussions.  The rules relating to such discussions however are prescriptive and there are penalties if you get in wrong.

Employment law is no longer an area of practise to be tagged on to other areas of expertise such as Human Resources or Corporate law. There are frequent traps and complexities which must be considered and advised on by a specialist.

by Lynne Burns

the founder of LB LAW,  & Collaboration Partner – The Brooke Consultancy

(photo source: IsraelAndrade / Unsplash)

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Brexit – Exporting to and from the EU now

The UK has left the EU customs union, single market, and VAT area. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) sets out the terms of UK trade with the EU from 1 January 2021.

This article is a general overview of some of the issues arising from trade with the EU.

Businesses find dealing with the amended import and export procedures challenging. Below are the main sources of information which may help people dealing with questions about customs rules.

The Government’s Border Operating Model (June 2022) is a comprehensive guide on customs processes, both for imports from and exports to the EU. A Government explainer contains an overview of customs formalities for UK-EU trade. More information about the Model is available below.

handshake - successful business

European Commission Guidance Brexit: Now that the transition period has ended, new rules on taxes and customs answers the most common questions about EU customs rules. More detailed EU technical guidance is available.

Action if you wish to export to the EU: You need to familiarise yourselves with new processes. These include: preparing to make customs declarations, knowing how to classify your goods and following safety and security requirements.

Making customs declarations: You must submit customs declarations for all goods exported from and imported into the UK (excluding those from Ireland). In some cases, a business may submit a simplified declaration.

Classifying goods: You are responsible for correct classification of goods and recording of the origin of goods. Incorrect commodity codes or inaccurate recording of origin in customs declarations may mean that the wrong amount of tax or duty will be charged. You may classify your goods yourself but HMRC often advises getting help from customs intermediaries to ensure that goods are classified correctly. More information is on GOV.UK: Claiming preferential rates of duty between the UK and EU.

Follow Safety and Security Requirements

The EU requires safety and security declarations on imports from and exports to the UK. The UK Government does not currently require these declarations for imports from the EU. When exporting from Great Britain to the EU, you will generally have to make an exit summary declaration.

You can find information on customs and tax rules through various UK government channels:

The government has launched an Export support team hotline and online enquiry service for businesses exporting to the EU and further assistance is available as follows:

HMRC trade tariff tool can be used to check the applicable UK tariff duties and VAT rates.

Government Border Operating Model recommends, because customs declarations can be complex, that businesses use customs intermediary who can do this on their customers’ behalf. HMRC has lists of customs agents and fast parcel operators.

European Commission has a taxation and customs information website and you also need to consult in individual cases, the EU Member States to which you are exporting customs authorities.

Customs & International Trade Helpline number is 0300‌ ‌322‌ ‌‌9434. See also GOV.UK Brexit transition helplines.

Export support team hotline an online enquiry service for businesses exporting to the EU.

HMRC offers webinars and short films about importing and exporting.

Northern Ireland

Businesses moving goods between GB and Northern Ireland can use the free Trader Support Service, which provides information and can complete declarations on their behalf.

Free trade and support service is for businesses moving goods between GB and Northern Ireland.  The service provides information and can complete declarations on your behalf.

A GOV.UK guide explains how businesses can export food, drink and agricultural products.

Compliance with Rules of Origin will allow your goods to be exported under the TCA on the basis of zero tariffs and quotas.

TCA secures zero tariffs and quotas on goods moving between the EU and UK, if those goods meet the rules of origin (RoO) which determine the “economic nationality” of goods based on where the products or materials (or inputs) used in their production come from. They prevent goods manufactured in third countries being routed through the UK (or the EU) to avoid paying third country tariffs.

The goods have to meet the ‘Rules of Origin’ requirements set out in the TCA. These rules relate to the amount of UK or EU content in a particular good and the amount of processing which goods undergo in the UK or EU before export. Together these determine whether goods qualify as UK or EU originating and therefore qualify for zero tariffs and quotas. Goods that have not been sufficiently produced or processed in the UK or EU cannot be re-exported tariff free. The VAT and excise rules that apply to goods coming into or leaving the UK from or to EU countries and non-EU countries are now the same.

A product qualifies as ‘originating’, if it is ‘wholly obtained’ in the UK and EU, or has been substantially transformed in one or both markets. Businesses that re-export goods from third countries with little or no further processing, may still face tariffs when trading with EU Member States.

RoO can be onerous. In some cases, the rules are specific to particular products. Some businesses cannot or do not wish to claim zero tariff because of the complexity or cost of the paperwork and due to the complexities, a substantial number of businesses do not claim zero tariffs when exporting to the EU.

You will need to meet EU regulatory requirements. Where conformity assessment procedures require approval from a third party conformity assessment body, you will need to obtain certification in both the UK and the EU if your products are to be sold in both. The UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) mark will be used to demonstrate compliance of products in the UK, whilst the CE mark will continue to be used to demonstrate compliance of products in the EU.

Bio Security Requirements

If you move, buy or sell animals or plants, or their products from or to the EU, you now need to comply with rules for protecting human, plant and animal health to ensure that you can continue to trade freely, such as health certification, new biosecurity requirements and border checks. Certain animal products such as chilled meats (e.g. sausages and mincemeat) and some plant species can no longer be exported to the EU.


EU Customs controls: They ensure that duties are paid on goods moving across the border, and check compliance with safety, security, health and environmental requirements and the EU has introduced full customs controls.

UK Government Border controls

Border controls for goods imported from the EU are being phased in for customs declarations for all goods.  This includes further health certification and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks on agri-food products, physical SPS-checks on EU imports at designated Border Control Posts, and a requirement for safety and security declarations. However, the UK Government is seeking digital solutions for the border and exploring new technologies to reduce friction and costs for businesses and consumers. The new target date for a reassessed import control regime is the end of 2023.

The TCA commits the UK and EU to hold regular reviews of their respective border controls with the aim of reducing the burden of such controls to facilitate trade without compromising biosecurity.


This article does not address the specific circumstances of any business.  You cannot rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements. You need to consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.

Photo: Katemangostar / Freepik

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UK Immigration Rules: New routes – An Update

In our last blog post, we set out the Government’s planned changes to the system for UK work visas. Since then, the Government has implemented those changes, so we can now see better what they mean in practice.

Investor Visa

There remains no further guidance from the Government on how exactly they plan to replace the Investor Visa route through changes to the Innovator Visa category. For now, the system for UK work visas generally continues to be focused on migration for employees, rather than for self-employed / independent business people.

Global Business Mobility

Following Brexit, the Government has tried to make the UK more attractive to overseas businesses. It has signed a number of free trade agreements and created various freeports. Some of those businesses want to send their overseas personnel to the UK to set up and run their UK based business.

This is possible through the UK Expansion Worker route, which came into force on 11 April 2022 and which has received its first applications. First, the overseas business creates a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK. The UK based business applies to the Government for a sponsor licence, before it starts trading in the UK. It applies for a Temporary Worker licence, allowing it to sponsor workers on the UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility) route. This is an online process, involving completion of an application form with information about the business; and supporting documents as evidence for the business.

The key, general requirements for sponsor licence applications are: clear background checks for personnel; appropriate HR systems; and suitable jobs and pay. The UK Expansion Worker route is for senior managers or specialist employees, assigned to the UK to work on the business’ expansion to the UK; and this route requires credible plans to expand to the UK. Careful preparation of the sponsor licence application is key – if the Government refuses the application, it will generally be necessary to wait for at least 6 months before applying again. This would cause a major delay for the business’ planned expansion.

Normally, the Government makes a decision on sponsor licence applications within 8 weeks. It is now making it easier to fast track applications, charging a fee for a decision within 2 weeks.

Once the business has its sponsor licence, it gives a certificate of sponsorship to its key person – its authorising officer – to enter the UK. That person uses the certificate to apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa. Once they have their visa, the business can start sponsoring more people to help with the expansion to the UK.

With the UK Expansion Worker route, the Government has provided a way for overseas businesses to expand to the UK. Over time, we will see how attractive this is, particularly in comparison with the previous Sole Representative route.

High Potential Individual

Many overseas students have expressed an interest in this new route, which allows recent graduates of certain leading global universities to work in the UK. It contributes to an improved range of visa options for young people looking to move to the UK to start their careers here. Generally, these options do not lead to permanent residence in the UK, so it will often ultimately be necessary to find sponsorship from a UK based business.


This new route came into force on 22 August 2022, so its impact is not yet clear. Many scale-ups may be reluctant to take on the regulatory burden at their stage of business. However, this remains one of the few visas that can lead to permanent residence in the UK, which is a rare feature for UK work visas.


These are the key changes that the Government has introduced. Having said this, we now also have a new Prime Minister, so there could be further changes soon. Watch this space!

by Usman Sheikh,

the founder of Ansar, & Collaboration Partner – The Brooke Consultancy

(photo source: Rawpixel / Freepik)

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Understanding the Legal Side of Naming and Branding

A brand name is the first thing customers hear when engaging with a product or service creating a sense of association.

Building a brand is one of the most strategically important decisions business owners can make – strong brands command price premiums, engenders customer loyalty and generates higher returns for the business and investors who will in fact become your shareholders.

A statistic – Up to 80% of consumers prefer to buy a product from a brand name they recognize.

What you need to consider

Own your name – it’s your intellectual property.  Trademark it, register it as your IPR as that will create a financial value for your company, it will sit on the balance sheets as an asset.

If you cannot patent and you want to talk to other people about joint ventures or deals, you may wish to have a confidentiality and non-circumvention agreement to prevent the idea being used by the person with whom you are negotiating or people that you deal with.

Trademark the name and where appropriate patent the change that effected.  It will sit on your balance sheet as an asset that feeds into access to finance because by naming and branding that enables your accountants to put together financial projections that are consistent and supported by fair and reasonable assumptions.

Naming is a crucial part of brand building and must be in alignment with the overall strategy.  Taking a couple of examples:

1.     A new innovative and sustainable fashion brand for young people, so in addition to branding and naming there is strategy, art direction and packaging but they are in fact add ons.  It was necessary to communicate the brand’s youthfulness, vibrancy, energy and corporate values “I am chemical free, I am the most sustainable garment on the planet”.

2.     An old established dairy producer: The market is dairy free brands fighting for market share.  Given its history, this company decided to disrupt dairy with free range natural and sustainably packages delicious dairy products and to concentrate on continuity of the product.  The differentiator for them was their free-range cows who are fed the finest feed, played music while they are milked and have their own beds and get their back scratched.  So the challenge here was the company wanted to retain its legacy whilst also firmly positioning itself as the go to dairy brand for now and the future.

What lessons can be learned

1.     Know the market for your product/service.

2.     Know your demographic

3.     Know the amount of the market that you need to capture using your name and brand.

4.     To unlock your social benefit and value, the key is the naming and branding or, in other words, do you satisfy the criteria that investors are increasingly looking for of ESG – Environment, Social Benefit, Governance.  Governance means how you run your company and communicate its corporate values.

If you want to know more about the creative and communication perspective of names and brands, then read this detailed article written by Sabine Raabe, a high calibre PR and Public Affairs Practitioner and our Collab Partner.

When it comes to naming and branding it is best if you have a branding specialist. It’s important to maximise the value of the intellectual property rights you have created by naming and branding, there is financial advantage to your business and investors by providing access to finance.

(photo source: vectorjuice/Freepik)


Lynne Brooke

The Brooke Consultancy

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The Growing Importance of Litigation PR

Let’s talk about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Heard sacked her PR team mid-trial, reeling from bad press with hashtags like #JusticeforJohnnyDepp racking up 3 billion views on TikTok. The Court of Public Opinion had firmly turned against her, and the case is a perfect example of the growing importance of litigation communications in the digital world. Not all cases occupy the tabloids quite like the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial or Depp vs. Heard, however, personal, financial, and corporate litigation can easily make the headlines, propagate on social media, and leave a long-lasting damaging digital footprint.

Monitoring and managing what is said about the client is therefore critical and this is where Litigation PR comes in. Litigation public relations is the management of the communication process during the course of any legal dispute so as to affect the outcome or its impact on the client’s overall reputation. Litigants and Law Firms have always used the media to get their side of the story across and the practice of Litigation PR originally evolved out of crisis communications.

Litigation PR is a specialised practice in that the aim is tied to supporting a legal dispute and any communication about the case can have legal implications, given the sensitive rules around disclosure during courts proceedings. Litigation communications and reputation management can be necessary for cases across all practice areas. Generally, the two parties have important interests to defend that expand way beyond the legal case. Negative publicity about a company or individual can cause damage to the overall reputation that even a courtroom win may never salvage.

litigation pr reputation management

A Litigation PR expert who understands the court process and legal strategy will guide the client on communication and develop the appropriate strategy, both in terms of the case, and the publicity that comes with it. For many cases the goal is to keep any mention of the case out of the press altogether. Litigation PR can even be an effective tool in bringing the other side to the table to settle a dispute to avoid negative publicity.

Although the practice of PR involves far more than just media communication, Litigation PR remains dependent on the media. At a time when society is growing more litigious, the media focuses and in fact seeks out publicly filed lawsuits. It is important your Litigation PR Practitioner knows how to pre-empt adverse publicity that could impact the entire strategy of a legal case. Clients need to know whether there will be news coverage of their case, how to tell their story to correct any misleading impressions, protect their business interests, the share price of their company, and even ability to access finance.

Because typical public relations campaign strategies and tactics may not be appropriate and may even be harmful at certain times during a lawsuit, the strategy must follow due legal process. Litigation PR is more regulated so as not to prejudice the legal process. Whatever the practice area and nature of the case, the Litigation PR practitioner will conduct a reputation risk analysis with a comprehensive media and online audit, and background research exercise. This provides insight into any likely source of negativity to be involved, what they might say, what online assets exist, what the social media footprint is like, and who the interested parties are.

Depending on the finding of the reputation risk analysis, the communications and Litigation PR strategy for every case will be different. If a case is already out in the public domain there is the need to take control and have a say in the way a case is reported. Other times it may be better to sit it out and only speak out if the need arises. In all instances, being prepared and responsive in real time is always in the client’s best interests.

Litigation PR is highly strategic and requires experience, knowledge of the legal process and a close working relationship with the client’s legal team. Lack of co-operation and communication can lead to the most solid case derailing which will ultimately be costly for the client and may lose them their business and reputation. Litigation PR should be seen as part of sound brand management in protecting underlying brand value for the long term.

(photo source: Mauro Gigli/Unsplash)

by Sabine Raabe

PR Specialist, Enlightened PR

Collaboration Partner – The Brooke Consultancy

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Opportunities for overseas companies: Doing business from the UK

Overseas companies can do business from the UK by establishing a presence in a UK Freeport with accompanying tax advantages. It can be for services or goods, and then sold on the internal market or exporting tariff free to countries with which the UK has a Free Trade Agreement e.g. Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand.  Tax will have to be paid in the UK by the company, but it will be subject to relief by virtue of a Double Taxation Agreement.

The G7 has always helped drive wider international action. During its presidency, UK has supported specific objectives with which we can all agree with:

– End the pandemic and prepare for the future. Although the pandemic seems to be on the way out we still have to plan for the future

– Reinvigorate our economies by championing freer, fairer trade

– Protecting our planet by supporting a green revolution

– Strengthening partnerships and embracing values to harness power of democracy, freedom, equality, rule of law and respect for human rights.

Now that the UK has left the EU and entered into the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, we feel our obligation to our fellow citizens to help achieve economic growth.

Although the UK has left the EU, it has not altered the fundamentals of sound business.

The UK:

– is the 5th largest economy in the world,

– has a 67m population,

– its GDP ranks 5th in the world

– growth companies have a Hi tech focus, and

– bureaucracy is limited.

There are many other ‘Incentives’ including

– low corporation tax levels

– favourable employment laws and lower labour costs

– availability of venture capital for innovative growth companies

It is a priority of Government to attract Foreign Direct Investment and to have Free Trade Agreements worldwide.

The UK has established FTAs with 19 countries some very small but 6 are with larger countries like Japan and Canada.

While the UK has always been open to FDI, below you will see the types of services provided by the Office for Investment established as part of the Department of International Trade.

– Business intelligence gathering

– Providing expert advice on sector specific issues

– Identifying priority sectoral opportunities

Trade and investment hubs have been created in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Darlington as homes to teams of export and investment specialists.  Services are provided to overseas investors and investable projects are being developed to be put in front of overseas investors.

Freeports unlock new investment opportunities, drive growth, support trade, innovation and commerce. There are currently 8 Freeports. Successful businesses will be able to access a share of £200m of seed capital. Economic incentives related to tax, customs, business rates, planning, regeneration:

– Enhanced structures & building allowances, plant & machinery allowances

– Stamp Duty Land Tax relief

– Business Rates relief

– Employers National Insurance contributions.

Although the UK is no longer a portal to the EU, it has taken up the position of being a portal to overseas companies that are resident and trade from the UK in Free Trade areas that have been negotiated.

One of the examples is the FTA between the UK and Australia. It sets out new global standards in digital and services, and creating new work and travel opportunities in both countries:

– UK firms to bid for an additional £10bn worth of Australian public sector contracts

– Allows young people to work and travel in Australia for up to 3 years at a time free from visa conditions

– UK service suppliers, architects, scientists, lawyers, accountants will have access to visas to work in Australia

– Removes tariffs on all UK exports so cheaper to sell cars, whisky, UK fashion and vice versa

– Further UK objective to join CPTPP

It is anticipated that the FTA with Australia will unlock £10.4bn of additional trade and eliminate tariffs. It is a gateway to the fast growing Indo Pacific region and will boost UK’s bid to join Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnerships (CPTPP).

To mention some interesting business-related examples: A Slovenian company that exports to Australia with which the EU has no trade agreement could make up their products in a UK Freeport and then export tariff free to Australia. There is also the example of rum being imported to the UK, bottled here in unique get-up in a Freeport and then exported tariff free to large markets in Canada and Japan.

India is UK’s 15th largest trading partner. India has a large middle class of consumers, and it is growing, and is set to become the World’s third biggest economy by 2050.  Investment from Indian companies already supports 95,000 jobs in the UK. The ambition is to double bi-lateral trade to £28bn by 2035. [Ann-Marie Trevelyan, International Trade Secretary at DIT]

We as a firm are looking to bring Indian hi tech unicorns to the Aquis market in London to raise capital and we look to suggest a similar strategy for other overseas companies, such as Turkey, for whom we act.

Presently there are 11 CPTPP members and up to 90% of the world growth is expected to be outside Europe over the next 5 years.

In addition the UK has a free trade agreement with Guyana and the CARIFORUM group of countries following the UK’s exit from the European Union. CARIFORUM is made up of the member nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Dominican Republic.

It seems that the strategy of entering into FTA’s worldwide is feasible and makes economic sense. More importantly, overseas companies, and they need not be wholly owned by the parent, trading from the UK can involve themselves in the growth of FTAs negotiated by the UK and take advantage of the fundamentals of doing business in the UK.

We have always believed in the strength of people working together in international markets because it encourages diversity and respect and mutual trading is, we believe, an engine of stability and peace. That accords with the G7 objectives with which we started.

Lynne Brooke

The Brooke Consultancy

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