Boris Johnson has recently held a series of high-level meetings via video conference with senior members of the European Council, European Commission and the European Parliament in order to advance negotiations towards a trade deal. The conferences follow news reports that the parties had failed to make any significant progress with the negotiations to date.


Unforeseen Delays

Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused unforeseen delays to Brexit trade talks, and this month the UK and the EU have agreed a revised and intensified timetable for negotiations, involving a combination of formal negotiations and smaller group meetings in both London and Brussels, to be held weekly between 29th June to 27th July.


Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

The UK officially left the EU on 31st January 2020 as a result of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (a copy of our summary of the Withdrawal Agreement is available here).  The UK is currently in a transition period which is due to expire 31st December 2020. The expiry of the transition period will result in Britain’s departure from the customs union and single market, whether or not a trade deal is in place.


In the event that a trade deal is not reached, the UK will have to trade with the EU on the World Trade Organisation terms, which could result in considerable challenges to businesses in terms of a change in trading legislation and potential customs tariffs and declarations.


The UK and the EU have until 1 July 2020 to agree to an extension to the transition period if required, however, the Prime Minister has already expressed that he will not seek an extension. Further updates and progress on the Brexit negotiations will be widely anticipated in the coming weeks as the intensified negotiations commence.


We will continue to publish updates as the discussions progress and we would urge businesses to start considering the implications of a “no-deal” Brexit for their businesses.


If you wish to discuss any Brexit related matters, please contact us and ask to speak to a member of our Brexit team.

Call us on 0161 941 4000 or email