After years of political back and forth, endless negotiations and nearly-deals, the UK finally has a post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU.
The agreement includes new rules for work, life and trade between the UK and the EU, and came into force at 23:00 GMT on December 31st 2020.
The deal has been largely welcomed by business organisations like the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), with the potential disruption of a no-deal scenario appearing to have been avoided.
The full, complex agreement runs to a lengthy 1,200 pages, so to save you a couple of days’ reading we’ve summarised the key points that could be relevant to your business.
Tariffs and quotas
Thanks to the deal, there will be no taxes on goods (tariffs) or limits on the amount that can be traded (quotas) between the UK and the EU going forward.
Imports and exports
However, businesses do need to prepare for new procedures at ports, and if new paperwork is incomplete, disruption could soon follow.
If you import goods from the EU you’ll need to take a look at your existing processes to ensure you’re up to date with the rules. Get step by step instructions and create your plan.
The process for exporting goods to the EU also changed from January 1st. Find out what you need to do now to export goods to the EU.
Right to work
UK and EU citizens already holding residency in Europe or Britain retain their existing rights.
But it will now be more complex for overseas workers from the EU to live and work in the UK. EU citizens hoping to work here must now gain a skills-based visa liked to a points system.
Exceptions between Ireland and Britain are in place, so citizens from both countries can come and go as they please with no travel or work visa requirements needed.
Businesses offering services – such as banking, architecture and accounting – will lose their automatic right of access to EU markets and will face restrictions when trading with the EU. There is more negotiation to be done in the coming year around the final arrangements for financial services.
Want to learn more about the impact of Brexit on small businesses?
If you’re in doubt about any of these changes and what they might mean for your business, you can use the Government’s handy Brexit Checker to find out more.