Friday, June 2, 2023

ICEX will provide up to 200,000 euros to the self-employed and companies affected by Brexit

Last Tuesday, the Council of Ministers approved the regulatory basis for direct subsidies from the “ICEX-Brexit” program to “compensate for negative effects”, in the words of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union was meant for companies and the self-employed”. either because they have seen their exports decline or because they have lost their investments.

According to the Royal Decree, which has already been published in the Official State Gazette (BoE), the subsidy will amount to 75% of the expenses considered eligible for subsidy, with a maximum support of 200,000 euros per beneficiary. These subsidies will be financed from the ICEX budget and Brexit Adaptation Reserve or BAR funds.

“The planned aid will have a direct positive impact on improving the productivity and competitiveness of the economy and on employment, as it will allow Spanish exporting companies and the UK market presence to progressively absorb the effects of the country leaving the EU”, Industry, Commerce And explained to the Ministry of Tourism.

Similarly, he highlighted, these subsidies “will help companies incorporated in Spain to strengthen their presence in the British market, despite deteriorating conditions for bilateral trade, and will be vital for the maintenance of sectors associated with UK exporters and the creation of jobs.” Will support

The program is designed to address the negative effects of Brexit

Following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, effective January 31, 2020, many companies and self-employed workers were affected, mainly due to the new obligations arising as a result of this historic event and the increased costs it involved.

Already at that time, the Secretary of State for Trade presented a study which analyzed in depth the possible effects of Brexit on the Spanish economy. In all scenarios considered, it was concluded that the departure of the United Kingdom would have negative consequences for GDP and employment in Spain as well as for trade and foreign investment that the Spanish economy issues and receives.

Two years later, the Council of Ministers has approved the regulatory grounds for the direct grant of subsidies of the “ICEX-Brexit” program, designed to offset the negative effects of the United Kingdom’s abandonment. Self Employed and Companies Spanish.

From the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism they indicated that “it is considered necessary to put in place temporary measures that facilitate absorption by export companies in case of increased post-Brexit costs, new procedures and administrative obligations”.

Self-employed and companies affected by Brexit can apply for assistance

According to Royal Decree 114/2023 of 21 February, companies legally incorporated in Spain or self-employed workers, exporters or self-employed workers registered in the Special Arrangement for Investments in the United Kingdom, can obtain the status of beneficiaries. subsidy. “Those who have been harmed by Brexit, either because of a reduction in their exports or because they had to bear the costs directly derived from that country’s departure from the European Union.”

To prove this fact, companies and self-employed people will have to explain through a statement how they have been affected, as well as the impact Brexit has had on their export process to the United Kingdom.

Companies and self-employed workers may belong to any sector of activity affected by Brexit, without prejudice to the sectoral priorities set out in each call, where appropriate. “However, the exclusion of aid to entities benefiting from the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the union, including those in the financial sector, must be taken into account”, the Royal Decree, published in the Official State Gazette on 21 February, stated.

The self-employed can get aid of up to 200,000 euros

As reflected in the document approved by the Council of Ministers, the subsidy will cover 75% of the expenses considered eligible for the subsidy, and the maximum support per beneficiary will be 200,000 Euros. “The call may establish a minimum amount of eligible expenses to be submitted by the beneficiary,” the publication states.

These subsidies would be financed from the ICEX budget, “which is an estimate”, and from the Brexit Adaptation Reserve or BAR Fund, regulated by the European Parliament.

The actions that will be supported within the framework of this program will all be carried out between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2023 and will have a maximum duration of 48 months, unless the rules extend.

Requirements that the self-employed and companies must meet

Companies and self-employed workers who have been affected by Brexit and who, therefore, wish to apply for these state subsidies must meet a series of requirements included in the Royal Decree:

  • There is no debt with the Administration for assistance or reimbursement of loans, nor with ICEX, and in particular, with any other loans previously granted under credits sent specifically for the management of these funds in the general state budget. or have no repayment obligation of the advance.
  • Stay up-to-date with tax obligations and Social Security.
  • The Customs and Excise Department of the State Tax Administration Agency is authorized to send ICEX information on the foreign trade of the requesting entity and the potential beneficiary of assistance.
  • Do not engage in any of the circumstances listed in sections 2 and 3 of article 13 of Law 38/2003 of 17 November.
  • In the case of subsidies of more than 30,000 euros, entities that fail to comply with the payment deadlines specified in article 13.3 bis of Law 38/2003 of 17 November will not be able to obtain beneficiary status.
  • Likewise, the beneficiaries must comply with a series of obligations established in Article 14 of Law 38/2003 of 17 November. In particular, both companies and the self-employed will be required to:

  • Be in a position to provide invoices for eligible works to be completed.
  • Submit the verification tasks set by the granting body with the aim of guaranteeing the correct application or action item of the same.
  • Present the control functions of the general intervention of the state administration and the supervisory control of the Court of Accounts.
  • They will be submitted to EU control functions, such as audits of the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors and any other bodies that may carry out these functions, based on the provisions of applicable European regulations.
  • They will be responsible for monitoring and authenticating the execution of subsidized works, so that the level of achievement of each action is known at all times.
  • Keep the documents justifying the action and subsidy application in electronic format for a period of five years from the payment of subsidy. This period will be three years if the financing is for an amount less than or equal to 60,000 Euros.
  • Proceed to reimbursement of subsidies received in the cases contemplated in Article 17 of the Royal Decree.
  • Communicate any other de minimis assistance received.
  • Follow the promotional obligations established in Article 14 of the Royal Decree.
  • These are expenses that the self-employed can subsidize

    In each call that is activated, the type of eligible expenses will be established, and Value Added Tax (VAT) or transfer support expenses cannot be subsidised. Nor will any travel, accommodation or maintenance expenses be subsidised.

    According to the BOE, for the purposes of these subsidies “expenditure actually paid before the end of the justification period prescribed by the rules governing the subsidy shall be treated as expenditure”. That is, on December 31, 2023. Eligible expenses may be:

  • New costs of exports to the United Kingdom as a result of its departure from the European Union: in the form of costs derived from advice on new requirements; the cost of certifications required for the product or service; registration of trademarks and appeals of origin; license, application and visa costs; among others.
  • Consolidation spend in the UK market through greater physical and brand presence to mitigate the negative impact of Brexit.
  • Previous, constitution and first establishment expenses: such as feasibility study; expenses of setting up a subsidiary, branch or office; or outside advice.
  • Promotional expenditure in connection with the development of the internationalization plan in the UK market: market research; dissemination and promotional materials; special services contract; advertising; positioning and marketing actions; commercial sponsorship; public relation; participation in fairs; among others.
  • Expenses for legal defense of trademarks and approvals: Registration of patents and trademarks; brand protection; Approval and Certification.
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