Pursuant to the decision by the British Parliament, the European Parliament has adopted the Brexit agreement and on 31 January 2020 (at midnight Central European Time), the United Kingdom officially left the European Union. The Brexit is now a reality. A transitional phase is now in effect and will continue through 31 December 2020. The UK will continue to be subject to all EU laws and regulations during this period. So far, nothing has changed for the Dutch ports and businesses in the logistical chains. They can continue to transport their goods just as they have done in past years. Please note that customs obligations will go into effect after the transitional period.
During the transitional period, the EU and UK will make agreements regarding how their relationship will proceed after 31 December 2020. Yet no matter the substance of these agreements, it is inevitable that customs formalities will be introduced for goods moving from the EU to the UK or vice versa. Businesses can use the period through 31 December to prepare themselves for this new reality. Please make sure you are ready in time. Only by working together can we avoid unnecessary delays.
July 1: possible extension of the transition phase
July 1 is an important date in the transition phase. If both the UK and the EU agree, the transition phase can be extended once for two years until December 31, 2022. This must then be agreed before July 1, 2020. However, British Prime Minister Johnson has said that he does not want an extension.
The EU and the UK are therefore negotiating the details of their future relationship in the coming year. In those negotiations, the EU and the UK agree on the conditions under which entrepreneurs can do business in and with the UK after the transition period. They will also negotiate rights for citizens and cooperation in the field of security.
More clarity about the new relationship between the EU and the UK will only come after this phase of the negotiations has been completed. The new agreements must take effect after the transition phase, which ends on 31 December 2020. These new agreements must also be approved by the EU countries, the British parliament and the European parliament. If it is not possible to make agreements about the new relationship, a so-called no-deal Brexit will still take place at the end of the transition period. However, this does not affect the working methods in the ports, as there will be customs formalities anyway. Preparation for the correct handling of these formalities is of great importance for everyone.