During the transition period, EU rules and regulations will continue to apply to the UK. For businesses on the Island of Ireland, at a practical level, this means that there are no immediate changes for now although significant changes may lie ahead.
What happens after transition will depend on what kind of deal— if any— is agreed during the negotiations that are now about to begin. If agreement cannot be reached in the negotiations, there is still a risk that the UK could leave with ‘no deal’ at the end of the year.
While there is still uncertainty about the future relationship between the UK and the EU, the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement avoids a hard border on the Island of Ireland. This means that it should be largely business as usual for NI businesses whose only trade is within Northern Ireland or on the Island of Ireland. However, NI businesses who trade with GB are likely to face some disruption due to the border in the Irish Sea. It remains to be seen what the practical impact of this will be.
There are also changes ahead for RoI businesses who import, export or move goods and materials from or through the UK.
A key date to be aware of is 1 July 2020, the deadline for agreeing an extension to the transition period. If agreed, an extension could be for either one year (31 December 2021), or two years (31 December 2022). If there is no extension, the transition period will end on 31 December 2020.
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