222 Weeks Later – what’s happening with Brexit?

A breakdown of Brexit so far 

The United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union, but the Brexit debacle is far from over.  Within this blog, we explore the key things that have happened since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016.

The next Brexit deadline is fast approaching. The UK and the EU need to agree on the terms of their new relationship.

What was the meaning of the UK’s departure deal on January 31st 2020?

The UK left the EU on January 31st 2020, the deal was called the ‘withdrawal agreement’.

The withdrawal agreement was created to set out a process to allow the UK to leave the EU as smoothly as possible. The withdrawal agreement covered things such as agreeing on a transition period, agreeing on how to prevent

It did not, however, cover the terms of the new relationship. The negotiations on the new relationship were always intended to be completed after the UK left the EU during the transition period. This next deal, therefore, which will cover the terms of the new agreement will cover things such as fishing access, regulation of medicine, security co-operation and trade.

How long will the transition period last?

The transition period is an 11-month period which started after Brexit day on January 31st 2020.

The transition period was subject to a large amount of controversy. It was touted that the transition period could have been open-ended, something which leave voters firmly opposed.

During the transition period, the UK is following EU trade rules and continues to pay into the EU budget.

The transition period will end on 23:59 on December 31st 2020. 

What happens if a deal is not agreed prior to December 31st 2020?

When the transition ends on 31st December, the UK will drop out of the single market and customs union. If a deal is not reached, the UK and EU will trade automatically trade on World Trade Organisation rules with the EU.

The single market – All countries within the single market share the same rules on product standards and access to services.

The customs union – An agreement between EU countries not to charge taxes when trading each other’s goods.

As such, if a trade deal is not agreed on, the UK and EU will then have to decide what tariffs are placed on EU goods coming into the country, and vice-versa.

Those opposed to a ‘no-deal’ scenario argue that tariffs will make UK goods more expensive and harder to sell in the EU, while full border checks on imports will cause long delays at ports.

If a trade deal is reached, it is unlikely it will eliminate all border checks – as such UK businesses will need to adapt their business practices.

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