Britain and the future relationship with the European Union

In a 2016 referendum, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. After years of negotiations, preparations and delays, the UK officially left the European Union on 31 January 2020. A transition period is in force until 31 December 2020, during which the relationship remains the status quo. Businesses now need to prepare for a new trading relationship and new rules.

Read the statement from the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK on Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Updated 2 December 2020

What is going on?

  • 23 June 2016: the UK votes to leave the European Union in a referendum, with 52% of the votes.
  • 29 March 2017: then Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, meaning that the UK was on course to leave the EU by the end of March 2019
  • 29 March 2019: Brexit was postponed (and again on 31 October, until 31 January 2020) due to lack of support for the withdrawal agreement in the UK Parliament
  • 24 July 2019: Theresa May officially resigns as Prime Minister, and Boris Johnson wins the Conservative Party leadership
  • 29 October 2019: MPs backed the Prime Minister's call for a general election on 12 December
  • 12 December 2019: The Conservative Party won a sizeable majority in the House of Commons
  • 31 January 2020: The UK officially left the European Union at 11pm GMT, beginning a transition period and negotiations on the future relationship
  • 31 December 2020: The end of the transition period

The UK has left the EU

With Britain’s exit from the European Union, businesses will need to assess their own exposure and any potential impact from a new trading relationship. Negotiations on the future trading relationship are currently taking place, and the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. However, the UK could still leave without a trade agreement (in parts or in full) at the end of the transition period. The uncertainty means businesses should undertake relevant scenario planning and take necessary steps to protect its business.

No trade deal would affect matters such as:

  • Customs/duty (if applicable) being paid on goods when importing
  • Different VAT procedures/application to a third-country/non-EU country
  • Businesses may change from distributor to importer
  • New immigration rules as the freedom of movement seizes

For information on specific challenges and information for your respective sector or industry, you may find specific trade bodies a useful resource, as many of them provide Brexit guidance and advice tailored to your business’ specific needs. The UK Government’s “Keep Business Moving” portal will continually be updated with useful information as the negotiations progress and new information emerges.

Do contact the Chamber if we can help guide you in the right direction, we are very happy to help.

UK Government on the future relationship

There is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate the new trading relationship. The current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period. New rules will take effect on 1 January 2021.

The UK transition

Keep Britain Moving (A portal for business on trading with the UK from 1 January 2021, as a business based in the EU. This portal will be continually updated during the autumn as further information on the future relationship emerges).

Prepare to import goods from the EU to Great Britain

Prepare to export goods from Great Britain to the EU

New immigration system: what you need to know

The future UK-EU relationship

Other useful links

Confederation of British Industry: “Working together: shaping EU policy to solve shared challenges” 

Confederation of Swedish Enterprise: “Brexit” 

EU nationals should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you’re an EU (Swedish as an example), EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status. Learn more and apply here. 

Events and training

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce has continually hosted Brexit related gatherings for its members, across all sectors and industries. From Brexit Town Halls to more intimate Brexit Breakfasts for various groups, these forums have offered an opportunity for businesses to update themselves, share experiences or find solutions to joint problems.

8 December: Virtual Roundtable on the future relationship, feat. Andrew Bowie, MP and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party


Questions about Brexit? 

Contact the SCC secretariat at or 02072248001 if you have any questions regarding Brexit.

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