Brexit on 31 January but no changes to trading until the end of 2020

The UK’s Withdrawal Agreement is now set to be ratified by the UK parliament. However, there will be no changes to trading arrangements until the end of 2020, as the time until then is a transition period during which the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement.

 

After months of uncertainty and several Brexit deadlines, the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement is now set to be ratified by the UK parliament. This means that the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020.

However, there will be no changes to trading arrangements until the end of 2020, as the time until then is a transition period during which the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement.

The final stages of ratification of the agreement will take place after Christmas, with the lower house of Parliament having until 9 January to approve the legislation, giving it just over three weeks to then pass through the upper house and receive Royal Assent.

The negotiations about a trade agreement will be very important for DFDS, our customers and partners. Therefore, we will follow the negotiations very closely, and our trade associations will naturally try to ensure that the industry’s viewpoints are heard and paid attention to by the negotiators.

We keep preparing

The new situation will not change our need to continue preparing for Brexit.

The UK Parliament is set to decide that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020, regardless of whether there is a trade agreement at that time, although some commentators see this as ‘sabre rattling’ by Boris Johnson and not necessarily seriously meant. This means that the risk of a no-deal Brexit situation has moved to the end of the year, and that we now have a year to finalise our preparations for handling this.

We hope and believe that there will be a new trade agreement. However, DFDS does not build on hope and belief, and we will continue the fantastic work you have done in the Brexit team and locally to get ready for Brexit. We will also continue supporting our customers with their preparations.

Thank you to everyone for taking us this far. I know I can rely on you to take DFDS even further, so we are ready to continue serving our customers and grow our UK-EU trade after 31 December when we have a new situation.

Torben Carlsen, CEO

December 23, 2019