As of 1 January 2021, the UK will cease to be bound by EU Single Market and Customs Union rules which have applied on a transitional basis under the Withdrawal Agreement since our formal exit on 31 January this year This site provides information on the implications of these changes in relation to various subject areas, as listed below. Each contains links to relevant official (UK and EU) guidance and a range of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
The Government has a dedicated UK Transition webpage, covering citizens and businesses in all sectors. This is structured around navigating to a personalised list of actions based on answers to specific questions about individual circumstances.
Many of the changes described will take effect irrespective of any deal on a future Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the UK and the EU. The primary purpose of an FTA would be to avoid the introduction of tariffs. But it also be likely to cover Rules of Origin and potentially the mutual recognition of standards and so-called level playing field issues.
In brief, ending transition without any future relationship agreement would mean trading with the EU as a normal third country with no preferential treatment in terms of tariffs or anything else in either direction, commonly known as WTO rules. What happens with an agreement will depend on the actual terms of that agreement – on which negotiations are still in progress.
The exception to this is Northern Ireland, where the Protocol to the existing Withdrawal Agreement lays down rules which will apply with or without a wider trade deal. Separate negotiations are taking place on the detailed implementation of the Protocol, which are also still in progress. However the Government has established a specific Trader Support Service which is now open for registration.
Will laws change in the UK on Day 1?
The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 was done to provide legal continuity for EU laws in the UK, it enables directly-applicable already-existing EU law to be brought into UK law. It will also give the government some restricted power to adapt and remove laws that are no longer relevant. However a number of regulations will change because we will become a third country.