On 31 January 2020 at 23.00 GMT the UK will formally leave the European Union following the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement and passage of the Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 in the UK Parliament.
As set out in the Withdrawal Agreement the UK will enter into a transition period until the stated date of 31 December 2020.
During this transition period the UK will continue to participate in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms) and follow all union policies. Any changes to the Union acquis will automatically apply to the UK.
The direct effect and primacy of Union law will continue while all existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Unless explicitly specified within the Withdrawal Agreement techUK members should consider the transition as a period of no change, with business as usual until this period elapses on 31 December 2020.
The future relationship between the UK and the EU (including a prospective free trade agreement and sectoral recognition procedures such as financial equivalence and data adequacy) will supersede the transition period to establish the new trading and economic relationship between the UK and the EU.
Prior to any updates through the future relationship Union law has been transferred into UK law through the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and any subsequent updates via the usual legislative process.
In the event there is no future relationship agreed, or the future relationship is a partial agreement, any areas not covered (in lieu of further whole or sectoral transition agreements) will default to third country (no deal) terms.
Members are therefore encouraged to review their preparations for third country trading and update these throughout the future relationship where applicable.
In the immediate term members can find information from the UK Government on the transition period here.
If members face issues relating to EU Exit (or continuity trade with non EU-countries under existing EU trade agreememts), we encourage members to raise queries with the UK Government through the EU Exit help desk by completing this web form.
The ICO has issued a statement here regarding data protection and transfer rules, highlighting that during the transition period it will be business as usual.
Throughout the future relationship process techUK will engage with the UK Government and the EU to ensure the best possible outcome for the UK tech sector.
If you have any questions relating to Brexit or the future relationship, please contact techUK’s lead on the future relationship and Brexit Neil Ross.