Brexit – what is it, and how will it affect my business?
Updated 28 June 2019
What is Brexit?
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.
- 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 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.
- The agreement was eventually voted down by MPs in the House of Commons on 12 March by a majority of 149.
- On 14 March, a vote was passed in Parliament delaying Brexit and extending Article 50 - the mechanism by which the UK is due to leave the EU. The extension was later granted by the EU, delaying Brexit to 12 April.
- On 29 March, MPs voted again – this time on the withdrawal agreement alone – and yet again rejected the agreement by a margin of 29.
- European Union leaders met on 10 April to discuss Britain's departure and agreed to extend the Brexit deadline until 31 October, which Theresa May has accepted.
- On 7 June, Theresa May officially stepped down as Prime Minister of the UK.
- As Tory MPs have backed Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt as the two remaining candidates in the race for the Tory leadership, the appointment of Britain's new Prime Minister is drawing near. 160,000 Conservative Party members will now vote for their preferred candidate, with the result to be announced on 22 July.
- Front runner Boris Johnson has pledged to get the UK out of the EU on 31 October – deal or no deal – whilst Jeremy Hunt is hoping to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement.
The new exit date is, therefore, 31 October, and the 'no-deal' alternative is still on the table due to the uncertainty of the political situation. 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
- Exporting to Sweden after EU Exit if there’s no deal
- Importing, exporting and transporting products or goods after Brexit
- 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)
- Brexit – what does it mean for Swedish trade?, Tullverket's information portal (in Swedish and English, 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.
Business Sweden: Brexit portal with FAQ's and useful resources for your business.
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 email@example.com or 02072248001 if you have any questions regarding Brexit