Brexit and businesses

A transition period is currently in place until 31 December 2020. During the transition period, the UK will comply with EU law and the obligations of the EU’s international agreements in full. In other words, the UK will participate in the single market and Customs Union and will comply with the EU’s trade agreements “as a Member State”. However, the UK will no longer participate in decision-making or in different bodies in charge of EU affairs.

A joint political declaration on the elements of the future EU–UK relationship is annexed to the withdrawal agreement. As far as trade is concerned, the declaration covers matters such as trade in goods, trade in services, investments, public procurements, protection of intellectual property rights, or equal conditions of competition. 

Negotiations on the future relationship will take place during the transition period, and the conditions of the relationship are set to enter into force once the transition period is over, on 1 January 2021 when the UK leaves the EU single market and Customs Union and stops applying the EU’s international agreements, including trade agreements.

Even if an ambitions future relationship regarding trade and investment is negotiated, its benefits will not correspond to those of the EU single market. This means that new barriers to trade and investment are inevitable. Moreover, an agreement on the future relationship will not solve all trade and investment issues. Businesses should also take account of the changing conditions after 1 January 2021 when the UK is no longer part of the EU’s trade agreements. 

The end of the transition period will mean changes in trade and investments. These changes will take place regardless of whether or not an agreement on the future relationship is reached. Further information on how to prepare for the forthcoming changes is available on the website of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Further information on the possible content of the future relationship will be provided later. 

The tasks of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs include preparing and implementing the European Union’s trade policy and providing public authority services abroad to promote international trade and economic relationships as well as exports and investments.