The United Kingdom has confirmed that it will not be seeking an extension to the EU Withdrawal Agreement ‘transition period’ when it expires on December 31.
If no new trade deal is agreed between the UK and the EU by the end of the year, then World Trade Organisation rules will apply between the two markets.
In this scenario, the UK Government said that it would delay implementing full-scale border controls for goods entering Great Britain from Europe, originally scheduled to start January 1, until July.
Controls will instead be gradually introduced in three phases — in January, April and July — to take into account the pressures on businesses triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU has not yet announced any details on goods going in the other direction.
The UK has also released details of the tariffs it will charge from January 2021 to countries with which it does not have a free trade deal (which could include the EU).
The UK separately began negotiating a free-trade agreement with the US on May 5. Australia and New Zealand are also due to begin negotiations for a Free Trade Deal with the UK in the near future. A deal is expected to be agreed by the end of the year.
Previously the UK Government outlined how trade to and from the EU via Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will be managed.
The Government says the Northern Ireland protocol command paper outlines the interests of the people and economy of Northern Ireland, recognises Northern Ireland’s integral place in the UK and its internal market, provides appropriate protection for the EU Single Market, and respects the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.
FSB NI Policy Chair Tina McKenzie said: “The paper is a positive step forward in that process and we cautiously welcome its contents, while noting that more detail is yet to come and that it will be subject to further negotiation.”