In a 2016 referendum, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The British exit was initially scheduled to take place on Friday 29 March 2019 but has since been delayed to 31 October 2019. Since the start of the exit negotiations process and Article 50, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce has encouraged its members and businesses to plan for all eventualities, including a no-deal exit. 

Updated 8 November 2019

What has happened?

  • 23 June 2016: the UK votes to leave the European Union with 52% of the votes.
  • 14 November 2018: UK government and EU announced that they had come to an agreement on the exit and a temporary future relationship. The agreement was later voted down in the UK Parliament on a number of occasions during the spring of 2019.
  • 14 March 2019: a vote was passed in Parliament delaying Brexit and extending Article 50. The extension was later granted by the EU, delaying Brexit to 12 April 2019. On 29 March, MPs voted again – this time on the withdrawal agreement alone – and yet again rejected the agreement.
  • 10 April 2019: EU leaders agreed to extend the Brexit deadline until 31 October 2019
  • 7 June 2019: Theresa May officially stepped down as Prime Minister of the UK, and a month later on 23 July, Boris Johnson was officially elected new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party. The Prime Minister pledged to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October – “deal or no deal”.
  • 28 August 2019: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament for an extended period was formally approved by Her Majesty the Queen. In the run up to the next Brexit deadline, MPs would effectively have had less time to debate and pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. However, on 24 September, the Supreme Court ruled the suspension of Parliament unlawful and MPs returned to Westminster the day after, on 25 September.
  • 4 September 2019: MPs backed a bill aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. The Benn Act forced the government to seek an extension beyond 31 October, if a deal has not been agreed with the EU, and made a no-deal exit unlawful. 
  • 17 October 2019: the European Commission and Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a new deal had been reached, effectively removing the Northern Ireland backstop.
  • 19 October 2019: UK Parliament passed the Letwin Amendment which effectively withholds approval of the Prime Minister’s deal until the withdrawal bill implementing Brexit has been passed. By midnight the PM had requested the EU - upon Parliament’s request – for an extension to Brexit.
  • 28 October 2019: The EU agreed to extend Brexit until 31 January 2020. EU Council President Donald Tusk calls it a "flextension", meaning that UK is free to leave the EU before the deadline if the Parliament would approve a deal. 
  • 29 October: MPs backed the Prime Minister's call for a general election and the UK will go to the polls on 12 December. 

Preparing for Brexit

Businesses need to assess their own exposure and any potential impact of Brexit, deal or no deal. The current uncertainty of deal – and indeed what deal - or no deal, means that many businesses are undertaking scenario planning.

No deal will affect matters such as:

  • Customs declarations, which will be required from day one
  • Customs/duty (if applicable) being paid on goods when importing
  • Goods may be checked by customs in both Sweden and the UK
  • Different VAT procedures application to a third-country/non-EU country
  • Businesses may change from distributor to importer

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.

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

UK Government on preparing for Brexit

The British Government offers free help and advice to get your business ready for Brexit, at different locations around the UK. See list of locations and dates for the Brexit Business Readiness Events. The Government also issues online advise for businesses on how to prepare for the UK leaving the European Union, with or without a deal. 

UK government links on preparing for the UK leaving the EU

Swedish government on preparing for Brexit

Other useful links

Events and training

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce continually hosts 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 offer an opportunity for businesses to update themselves, share experiences or find solutions to joint problems.

Upcoming events:

Questions about Brexit? 

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

Keep in touch on social

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