The UK and the EU agreed future trading terms of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
The UK has approved the agreement and it came into effect provisionally on December 31, 2020, whilst awaiting the EU to take steps to approve it.
The Government has updated its guidance on the new rules that apply to travel and doing business with Europe.
Clearly there are problems with the administration just now and we will keep you up to date of any issues as they arise.
You can check here what you need to do differently if you are:
- importing goods from the EU
- exporting goods to the EU
- moving goods to or from Northern Ireland
- providing services to EU countries
- travelling to the EU
- living and working in the EU
- staying in the UK if you are an EU citizen
Selling services to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein
The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement ensures that UK firms in a variety of service sectors can continue to access the EU market, including as business travellers and cross-border services suppliers or investors, while being treated no less favourably than either EU businesses or competitors from third countries.
While the Agreement sets out expectations of the treatment and level of access to each Party’s domestic market, there will still be some changes for business as a result of no longer operating under European Economic Area (EEA) regulation covering cross-border trade in services.
These changes are different for each sector and differ in each member state of the EU.
For Government guidance for UK businesses on rules for selling services click here.
There are country guides and information for UK businesses providing services and travelling for business to countries in the EEA and Switzerland here.
How this affects your business will depend on several factors, including the nature of your business and where your customers are located.
Data sharing with the EEA is one of the key areas to consider.
The Government has legislated so that UK firms can continue to lawfully send personal data from the UK to the EEA and 13 other countries that the EU has deemed to provide an adequate level of protection of personal data.
They have also announced that the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for the continued free flow of personal data from the EU and EEA to the UK until adequacy decisions are adopted, for no longer than 6 months.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) states that the agreement between the UK and the EU enables businesses and public bodies across all sectors to continue to freely receive data from the EU (and EEA).
However, as a sensible precaution, the ICO recommends that businesses work with EU and EEA organisations who transfer personal data to them, to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.
This means that businesses and organisations can be confident in the free flow of personal data from January 1, without having to make any changes to their data protection practices.
The new rules will take some time to “bed in” and we will keep you updated on practical actions to take and as new rules or agreements are made between the UK and the EU.