On the 31st January, the UK sadly left the EU as the transition period came to an end. My own feelings about this are of sadness and disappointment, at 36 year old the Union is all I have know, I have grown up with its benefits and I consider myself European and spend much of my time in France, Germany, Belgium and Holland. I fear it is a decision that the UK will long live to regret.
My plan had been to relocate my company to the mainland but COVID-related travel restrictions have put a stop to that for the time being. Later this year, I plan to establish a base in either Ireland or Holland.
The feedback I have received from collectors is that the uncertainty that has followed our rather haphazard departure from the EU has left collectors unsure of the processes and procedures around buying from UK dealers and auctions.
My accountants and advisors have helped me to understand the new rules and last week we tested out shipping a netsuke and inro to two collectors, one to Paris and the other to Belgium. Both were received the following day with no issue.
Until I am able to relocate my business to the continent, I have taken the decision that we will absorb any VAT or duty that is payable in relation to sales and consignments to and from Europe and pay this on our clients' behalf. Our courier is able to calculate any duty owed and bill me directly; you, as a client, will not have to do anything differently. My aim is to make it just as easy for my European clients to buy and sell via Willford Japanese Art as it was on 31st December.
My clients in the USA, Russia and the rest of the world should see no change in the speed and cost of buying and consigning with us. Essentially, it is business as usual and I can’t wait to share with you all my upcoming catalogue in mid-February, which will feature a collection of inro from a private UK collector and a selection of netsuke from my own stock.