The Future Working Relationship

Its the new term that takes over from Brexit -The Future Working Relationship.  Now trade talks begin with the EU.  At 11pm tonight we say goodbye to the UK. The UK will have formally left the EU. While there will be little change for consumers and businesses thanks to the Transition Period and the temporary standstill for trading arrangements between both parties; the UK will no longer be part of the EU and its institutions and will have relinquished all formal representation in the EU decision making rooms of the European Council, Commission and Parliament.  Trade talks will start and the issues that our members will face is still a certain level of uncertainty.  

The movement of trade is still relatively unknown, what we do know is the discussions from the 1st February onwards will be about the future trade agreement and movement of trade between the UK and Ireland. 

This historic moment tonight will mark the end of 47 years of UK membership of the European Union, nearly four years of uncertainty since the referendum vote and just under three years of negotiations. The question we do not know the answer to is can we get a trade agreement signed within the next 11 months, will the UK ask for an extension in talks or will we face WTO tariffs


What happens at 11:01 on Friday night. Does trade stop? Do EU citizens living in the U.K. and Brits in the EU have to head back to their respective countries?

No. The U.K. and the European Union will immediately enter a transition period until the end of this year, during which the free movement of people and trade between them will continue as before. There is no expectation of long lines at ports on the English Channel. Britons will no longer be EU citizens, but they will still broadly enjoy the same rights they do now. The U.K. will keep paying into the EU budget during this transition period, but British lawmakers will no longer sit in the European Parliament or help shape EU rules. Next month, British and EU negotiators will begin trying to hammer out a free trade deal to take effect when the transition ends on Dec. 31.

Brexit took a long time. How long will it take for the U.K. to reach a free trade deal with the EU?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists he can get a deal in the next 11 months, but the EU and trade experts are not so sure, given the complexity of such trade negotiations.

There are several scenarios. If the U.K. can’t reach a deal, it could crash out of the EU at the end of this year. Trade would default to WTO terms, which would place tariffs on some goods.  What is very important to understand is that if this is the case, we will hear a lot about exports, exports, exports.  What about imports and the potential delays on imports coming into Ireland?

Of course. Prime Minster Johnson could ask to extend the transition period, but he would face opposition within his Conservative Party. He has also vowed never to request an extension again. But the pressure he will be under will be immense from all sides within the UK and and wtihin the EU.

We urge our members to keep in touch with our offices, especially member companies that are exporting currently to the UK.  As part of the largest business organisation in Ireland and also with our membership of Eurochambres, we are best placed to inform the business community on a daily basis of the impact that Brexit will have on business in Kildare.


Allan Shine

CEO County Kildare Chamber