The UK and the EU's relationship has changed following the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020.
The EU-UK Trade Deal (formally the "Trade and Cooperation Agreement") applies from 1 January 2021 and introduces wide-ranging new rules, regulations and laws which will change how most UK businesses operate significantly.
The UK is no longer in the EU's Customs Union or Single Market and the "free movement of persons" no longer applies to the UK. These changes will affect businesses that export to and import from the EU, sell their services within the EU, hire employees from the EU and that travel to the EU. Businesses will need to adjust and become familiar with the new rules and regulations - including new laws proposed by the UK Government but not yet in force.
The Northern Ireland Protocol also means that businesses in Northern Ireland that deal with Great Britain and the EU will follow different rules and regulations to businesses in Great Britain that deal with the EU and Northern Ireland.
This page includes articles and materials which explore the consequences of these new rules and provide insight and analysis of the issues which businesses and individuals should consider when dealing with EU Member States.
Our experienced lawyers can support and advise you, offering strategic and practical advice to help you adjust and adapt to the new arrangements and highlighting both the risk and opportunities these changes bring.
The Trade Deal ensures there will zero tariffs and quotas on trade moving between the UK and EU, provided certain conditions including "rules of origin" are met. However, businesses will still need to comply with customs formalities and checks, including when exporting from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
The UK has now lost its enhanced level of access across the EU market, and UK service providers are treated as from a third country. In some highly regulated sectors, such as financial services or broadcasting, businesses based in the UK will no longer be authorised to carry out the same range of activities that equivalent EU businesses can undertake.
The UK is now a "third country" under the EU GDPR and so safeguards must be put in place where EU data is transferred to the UK, though a "Transition Period" lasting until May 2021 temporarily reduces compliance obligations. A new "UK GDPR" will apply to regulate the protection of personal data in the UK.
UK air carriers and road hauliers have lost traffic rights within the EU and the number of cabotage operations they can perform in the EU are limited. UK carriers may need to have an agreement in place with the relevant Member State for the onward carriage of goods.
The UK is no longer in the EU's VAT and excise duty area, so imports into the UK from the EU are subject to UK import VAT. Imports into the EU are subject to import VAT and excise goods imported into the UK from the EU will be subject to excise payments on the same basis as imports from elsewhere.
Whilst the Lugano Convention still applies to claims started before 31 December 2020, the position regarding other claims is unclear - pending the EU's decision on UK accession - as the Trade Deal does not make long-term provision regarding jurisdiction and enforcement of judgements in civil proceedings.