1 March 2021
Brexit happened at 23:00 on 31 January 2020 and the UK then entered a 'transition period', which froze all existing legislation in place until 1 January 2021. The UK can now change its laws as it sees fit without reference to the EU and make new free trade agreements with nations across the globe. Indeed, significant changes have already occurred.
These changes will affect how UK businesses trade with other companies and consumers in the EU. Brexit will influence every single element of future UK law in some way, shape or form.
At the time of writing, the UK has signed 37 trade agreements with 94 countries, including all EU Member States. Most expect this number to expand significantly over the next few years, with trading relationships created with nations that the UK had never held free trade deals with before. The UK is also in talks to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade bloc including several Asia-Pacific states, Canada and Mexico.
While there are still many uncertainties about the effects Brexit will have on the UK's economy, what is certain is that legislation is changing and will continue to change. Brexit, in this sense, is more of a process than an event.
UK and EU law were once joined at the hip, but the Brexit journey will lead to stark and important differences emerging between the UK and EU legal landscapes throughout the 2020s.
These deals will provide new opportunities for UK businesses, but they will also require regulations specific to their terms. As such, business owners must understand what these changes mean for their enterprises and keep abreast of ongoing changes. Companies must keep on the right side of the law, but the dizzying spectacle of sweeping legal changes may lead some to feel overwhelmed. There is, however, good news for businesses trying to find their feet in the post-Brexit world.
Business Companion, produced by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is your free, expert guide on traversing your Brexit business journey. This website, which contains guidance on UK consumer law from the basics to in-depth guidance, also has a space dedicated to Brexit's changes.
Whether it's changes to the trade mark system, food labelling or the CE mark becoming the UKCA mark, Business Companion covers business regulation areas that have been affected by Brexit or will change in the future.
We know that the past year has been extraordinarily demanding for businesses. Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic that profoundly affected the high street, the uncertainty of the outcome of the 2020 Brexit negotiations created stresses and strains for businesses across the UK. We have a modicum of certainty for future trading relationships and a clearer picture of what regulation will look like in this decade with a deal in place.
Let Business Companion be your Brexit companion - a reliable collection of UK Government-backed, free-of-charge guides, written by experts for many vital business regulation areas for Brexit and beyond.