On March 29, 2017 the United Kingdom triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union by sending a letter to the European Commission announcing to leave the European Union by withdrawing from the Treaty. This so-called Brexit shall appear on March 29, 2019.
At this point there is no trade agreement between the EU and the UK in place yet and it is unknown whether such agreement can be reached and what the substance thereof will be. However, on March 19, 2018, the negotiators of the EU and the UK reached an agreement regarding the transition period. During the agreed transition period of 21 months after Brexit, the UK shall observe the existing EU treaty-regulations without having the right to participate in the decision-making process regarding new policies. It looks like a “hard-Brexit” has herewith been averted.
Any further agreements with the UK to this date are subject to “the caveat that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. ¹ However, it appears that the ‘orderly withdrawal’ of the UK from the EU is top of the agenda for both parties. The exact position of the negotiations is available here.
The future relationship between the EU and the UK is still uncertain for entities carrying out activities in- or with the UK. Therefore, it is crucial that any business identifies and analyses their exposure to the imminent change to the legal landscape that will be experienced as the UK prepares to, and on March 29, 2019 does, leave the EU.
In a “Brexposure Tool” offered by Multilaw (a leading global network of independent law firms) you may enter your trade relationship with the UK by answering a few simple questions, in order to determine whether there will be a direct impact on your business after the Brexit. The Brexposure Tool is updated on a continuous basis while the agreements with the UK are further developing.
The questionnaire will guide you through the potential effects of the Brexit on issues of employment, intellectual property, regulatory obligations, EU financial aid, trade relations, and the implications of being a data controller or processer of personal data. Whilst the report generated is not intended to be comprehensive, nor provide any legal advice, it is a good starting point and gives a reasonable account of what might be the consequences for your business arising from the Brexit.
As the negotiating positions of both the EU and the UK become clearer in the coming months, the details of any future relationship between the EU and the UK shall become easier to monitor. For now, it might be good to perform some planning and preparation, in order to be prepared for the Brexit and any agreements with respect to the relationship between the EU and the UK after the transition period has lapsed.
¹ Joint report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union, 8 December 2017.
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