Brexit – what is it, and how will it affect my business?
Updated 22 March 2019
What is Brexit?
In a 2016 referendum, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The British exit is scheduled to take place on Friday 29 March 2019.
On 14 November, the UK government and the EU announced that they had come to an agreement on the exit and a temporary future relationship. The agreement was later reviewed, debated and consequently voted down in the UK Parliament on Tuesday 15 January.
There was, however, a majority in the Parliament for the Prime Minister to continue negotiations with the EU to achieve changes in the withdrawal agreement. But the agreement was voted down by MPs in the House of Commons on 12 March by a majority of 149.
Therefore, on 13 March, MPs voted on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal. The vote was rejected and was followed by another vote on 14 March on whether the UK should delay Brexit and extend Article 50 - the mechanism by which the UK is due to leave the EU. The vote was passed, and on 21 March, EU leaders agreed to delay Brexit until 22 May given that MPs accept the Prime Minister's Brexit deal. If the deal is rejected, however, Brexit will only be delayed until 12 April.
Despite the recent development, the 'no-deal' alternative is still on the table due to the uncertainty of the political situation, and companies are advised to assess their own exposure across all relevant scenarios.
The UK Government has issued continued advise for businesses on how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, which is listed below:
UK government links on preparing for the UK leaving the EU:
- Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU
- Prepare for EU Exit if you live in the UK
- Continue to live in the UK after it leaves the EU
Swedish government links on preparing for the UK leaving the EU:
- After Brexit, theme page produced by the National Board of Trade Sweden (Kommerskollegium)
- Brexit – Storbritannien och EU, Embassy of Sweden in London’s information portal (in Swedish, updates ongoing)
Other useful links:
- Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland from the European Union (14 November)
- The UK Department for Exiting the European Union (2 October, 2018)
- UK Government Letters (13 September, 2018) Advice for businesses only trading with the EU in case of 'no deal' Brexit
- UK Government White Paper (12 July, 2018): “The future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom”
- European Union Brexit Newsroom (updates ongoing): “Negotiating documents on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom
- UK Government information on negotiations (updates ongoing): “Article 50 and negotiations with the EU”
How will it affect my business?
You will need to assess your own business’ situation and any potential impact of Brexit. The current uncertainty of what deal or no deal, means that many businesses are considering scenario planning. A range of experts have raised concerns with matters such as uncertainty in both the regulatory and legal environment, supply chain issues, changes in sources of funding, border issues, tariff and customs and staff and employment, to consider among other things. Respective sector and industry trade bodies or professional advisers will most appropriately provide Brexit guidance and advice relevant to your specific business. Visit their respective websites for information. In general terms, the below could be useful.
European Commission on preparedness “European Commission published Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU” (19 July 2018)
CBI “Brexit & EU negotiations”
Survey of Swedish companies in the UK
Last year, the SCC together with 12 other Chambers conducted a survey with its Members to get an idea of businesses' views on Brexit. The survey revealed that Swedish businesses in the UK are less concerned about the impact of Brexit now than before the referendum too place but almost half still believe that there will be a negative impact on business after the exit. You can find more information about the survey here.
This page will be updated continuously.
Contact the SCC secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02072248001 if you have any questions regarding Brexit