The UK left the EU, including the single market and customs union, on 31 January 2020, and then entered a ‘stand still’ transition period. During that time, most aspects of the UK’s relationship with the EU, and with other countries which were unaffected by our EU rights and responsibilities, remained the same.
On 24 December 2020, the UK and EU negotiators reached an “agreement in principle” on the text of a new trade and cooperation agreement to govern their relations now that the UK has left the EU. The provisional application of this agreement went live on 1 January 2021 following the ratification of this agreement by both the EU and UK.
At 11pm on 31 December 2020 that formal 11 month ‘transition period’ ended. In many ways, this is the first time that the practical effects of leaving the EU will be felt by businesses and consumers.
All businesses should be thinking very carefully about their own state of readiness, including assessing the stability of supply chain and preparedness of partners. While there are areas where the BCC is calling for more information, there is information available for businesses who need to prepare for changes which will happen at the end of 2020.
The BCC’s End of Transition Checklist sets out many of the areas you should look at and plan for, including links to helpful guidance. The key areas to think about are:
- Cross-border trade
- Supply chain disruption
- Trade between GB and NI
- Taxation and insurance
- Currency, intellectual property and contractual issues
Resources, links and advice
- The Brexit checker tool is a good place for businesses to start and provides users with a list of personalised actions they need to take.
- Documents to help businesses prepare for the new trading arrangements with the EU can be found below:
- Business Support Helpline allows you to speak to advisors for free advice.
- Gov.uk alerts. Sign up and create an account to get alerts when changes are made to relevant guidance.
- Apply for a grant to help small- and medium-sized businesses new to importing or exporting here
- Resources for traders on border readiness:
- The BCC coordinated a Letter from Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove MP, to businesses moving goods between the UK and the EU and between GB and NI, to help them prepare for the new trading relationship with the European Union following the end of the transition period. The letter ties in with the Government’s Check, Change, Go campaign and highlights practical steps businesses need to take to prepare for the coming changes.
- View our exclusive series of videos and e-guides focussing on the changes to Customs Declarations, Rules of Origin and Tariffs and what they mean for your business.
- All businesses can find out what has changed, and check their preparations, by visiting new video content from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The short, on-demand videos cover 18 topics, including importing and exporting, rules of origin and audit and accounting. Register now to immediately access the video content.