The UK ceased to be a member of the EU on 31 January and we are now in the transition period of our divorce from the EU. This transition (or implementation) period is due to last for 11 months to the end of 2020 and the hard work of negotiating our future relationship with the EU will start to take place. During this time the UK will continue to follow EU rules and our trading relationship will remain largely unchanged. From 1 Jan 2021 a new trade agreement will need to be in place and other matters will also need to be agreed, ranging from cross border law enforcement to the licensing of medicines and access to fishing waters. The EU has called it a ‘challenging timetable’ although the Government has committed not to extend the 31 December deadline.
Whilst uncertainty over new trade arrangements remains a factor, there should be more clarity as the year progresses. Businesses throughout the UK have reached different stages of preparation since the June 2016 referendum. With the fog now set to clear in the coming months, businesses and individuals alike would be well advised to take stock and consider how best to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by this seismic shift in the landscape.
The team at Hewitsons is available to talk to you about your needs and how those may be impacted by Brexit. We have also identified a number of key areas that organisations should be considering now.
Whilst we can do no more here than flag points for you to consider, in a general way, we will be able to tailor our advice to your specific business needs and particular issues that affect your sector. Of course, despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit, opportunities are always associated with change and reviewing your legal and regulatory requirements may help with identifying such opportunities.
Hewitsons continues to have close European connections through our network of international law firms, LawExchange International. In that way we can provide an international dimension from trusted advisers which is critical to avoiding business disruption and to grasping opportunities quickly.
For more information please contact James Lawrence or Charlotte Bull.