The UK set to formally leave the European Union the government will now focus on their next phase of negotiations getting a trade deal and forging a new partnership with the remaining 27 countries based on the existing deadline.
The UK and EU now have 11 months to come up with a deal which according to the UK government is going to mean tariff free and duty-free trade in goods. During this transition period, the UK retains access to the single market and the customs union.
The EU is hoping to have its negotiating mandate approved by its ministers on the 25th of February with the aim of launching negotiations within the first few days of March. In June there will be a meeting between the UK and the EU to see just how much progress has been made.
Then, the UK has until the 1st of July 2020 to request an extension to the transition period for 12 or maybe 24 months, but Boris Johnson has said he’s got no intention of extending the transition period. EU officials say, if there’s a deal to be done it has to be presented to the European Parliament by November the 26th, so it could be ratified by the end of the year. Remember, every EU member state gets a vote on that deal.
Boris Johnson says he wants a comprehensive free trade agreement, but the EU has said it may only be a ‘bare-bones’ deal because of time constraints. The transition period ends on the 31st of December of this year. If there’s no trade deal in place, the UK will trade under WTO terms, meaning tariffs and border checks.
So, that no deal cliff edge hasn’t gone away altogether, and since major trade deals tend to take years rather than months to negotiate, there’s a good chance there’ll be outstanding issues after the end of this year.
One way or another talks are expected to continue.