Brexit and the Transitional Period – What to expect?

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on Friday 31st January at 11pm GMT.

The Brexit referendum was held on the 23rd June 2016, 51.9% of the UK population (17.4 million people) voted to leave the European Union (EU) and the government formally announced that the process would begin in March 2017. Brexit, Britain’s exit of the European Union, will begin at 11pm GMT today.

What will happen on the 31st January 2020? 

The European Union is an economic and political union involving 28 European countries. Free trade and the free movement of people across the 28 countries has allowed goods to be moved between countries without customs checks or extra charges. Since joining in 1973, the United Kingdom has been a member state of European Union. On January 31st, the United Kingdom will enter what is known as the ‘transitional period’ with the European Union. 

What is the transition period?

The transition period for Brexit is due to last until December 2020. There will be no change to the terms and conditions regarding the customs union and the single market. Freedom of movement (i.e. the right to live in the United Kingdom and EU and vice versa) and UK-EU / EU-UK trade and customs checks at borders will continue to operate unaffected until that date. 

What happens during the transition period?

The transition period will allow the EU and UK to have time to develop discussions as to how trade will be formalised between the European Union and the United Kingdom after December 2020. Both sides have already put into place a document that outlines the broad goal of the transitional period known as the political declaration. The United Kingdom will also continue it’s discussions with countries outside of the European Union to create new trade agreements, given they will no longer be a member of the European Union agreements after December 2020. 

How will my imports and exports be impacted on the 31st January?

The transition period allows the United Kingdom to continue to trade under the European Union trade agreements until December 2020, imports and exports will continue as usual during the transitional period. 

How will my imports and exports be impacted after the transitional period is over?

There remains a period of 11 months for the United Kingdom to reach trade agreements with the European Union and other countries around the world. A number of outcomes are possible at the end of December 2020 that may impact your trade with the United Kingdom. As these become clear we will share with you consistently over the next 11 months.

If you should require any additional information to assist with your Brexit supply chain preparations, please contact us to speak with one of our experts.