Robert Woolley of HPH, Chartered Accountants contemplates on Le Grand Brexit Départ into the unknown.
Sunday 25 November 2018's historic summit between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU on the Brexit withdrawal agreement seems to be just the beginning of what may be a turbulent period ahead. In theory, the terms of the document will minimise the economic damage from the UK leaving the EU, although there is plenty of opposition from parliamentarians of all political persuasions, who will have an opportunity to vote on the deal on 11 December.
Mrs May is currently on a campaign tour of the UK to sell her vision to business leaders and the general public. There's no doubt, however, that a number of issues are still very much unresolved at this point.
As the Article 50 deadline approaches at the end of March 2019, we can't yet be sure of the nature of future international trade relations or the degree of regulatory alignment with the EU. What will the eventual settlement mean for international mobility and the availability of labour? And how is the issue of the Northern Ireland border going to be resolved? At the moment, there is much debate over the so-called 'back-stop' and the way in which the arrangement might come to an end.
If there is a deal, transitional provisions will run until 31 December 2020 with the UK able to sign trade deals with other countries for implementation from 1 January 2021. In the event of no deal, there will be no transition period and we'll leave the EU on 29 March 2019.
We'll maybe have a clearer idea of the likely direction after 11th December 2018, but in the meantime, the Government has recently issued a video:
The Brexit Deal explained in 60 seconds.
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