Business Advice

The UK has left the EU - Get ready for 2021


The UK has left the EU and is now in a transition period, before new rules come into place from 1 January 2021. During this period, all EU rules and regulations will continue to apply to the UK. Virtually nothing will change for businesses or for the public during this time.

Now that Brexit is a fact the EU and the UK have to negotiate the details of their future relationship. This will include agreeing on what conditions will apply to EU-based companies that want to do business in and with the UK after the transition period. Negotiations will also take place on citizens’ rights and cooperation on security.

There will be more clarity on the new relationship between the EU and the UK only once the negotiations have been completed. The new agreements will enter into force after the transition period, which will end on 31 December 2020.

These new agreements will have to be approved by individual member states, the UK parliament and the European Parliament. If no agreement is reached there will be a ‘no deal’ Brexit after the transition period.

Businesses are being encouraged to prepare for Brexit as it is likely that it will impact on their business or customers after the exit date.

Businesses are encouraged to refer to the Prepare for Brexit website which provides all Scottish businesses with advice and information.  The site contains a range of support tools and information, and links to events, webinars, and other resources.

The HM Government website provides information and advice on the following:

  • Employing EU citizens
  • Importing, Exporting and Transporting
  • Operating in the EU
  • Regulation and Standards for Products and Goods
  • Using Personal Data
  • European and Domestic Funding
  • Intellectual Property
  • Energy and Climate
  • Public Sector Procurement

The Federation of Small Businesses has provided some advice and guidance on Brexit for small businesses.

Scottish Enterprise has developed an ‘Anticipate. Plan. Adapt.’ Support section to help businesses with their Brexit preparations.

No deal

30 June 2020 was the last date that the UK could seek an extension to the Brexit transition period.  Unless a trade deal is negotiated with the EU in the next 6 months, the UK will leave the EU with no deal on 31 December 2020.

The UK would then have to default to World Trade Organization (WTO) terms from 1 January 2021. Every WTO member has a list of tariffs and quotas that they apply to other countries.  The UK would have to apply tariffs and quotas to goods coming into the country from the EU, and the EU would apply its “third-country” tariffs and quotas to the UK.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) predicts that no-deal would mean that 90% of the UK’s goods exports to the EU would be subjected to tariffs.

A No deal exit would also raise other non-tariff considerations – the BBC has produced a short summary – which includes standards, safety regulations, and sanitary checks on food and animals. They are more complicated than tariffs themselves.

The information provided above was accurate at the time of publication. 

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