What does Brexit mean for the business sector?

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union will affect companies that trade with the UK or are affected by UK participation in the single market in other ways. The business sector must follow the development of negotiations and prepare for all conceivable outcomes. The main scenario is an orderly withdrawal based on the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement. However, in view of the ongoing approval process, there is still a clear risk of a no-deal withdrawal.

What happens in the event of a no-deal withdrawal?

There is a clear risk that the United Kingdom will leave the EU without the Withdrawal Agreement being approved. If this takes place, it would do so according to the timetable that applies at midnight on 31 October. Moreover, the UK will leave the EU on 1 June if the country is a member of the EU at the time of the elections to the European Parliament between 23 and 26 May and does not hold its own elections.  

If the UK leaves without the Withdrawal Agreement having been approved, the country will, in formal and practical terms, become a third country in relation to the EU.  The transition period stated in the Withdrawal Agreement will not begin and EU law will cease to apply in relation to the UK at the time of the withdrawal. Trade with the UK will, in that case, be regulated on the basis of applicable international principles and rules from the WTO, for example. The EU will apply third country rules to the UK in relation to, for example, customs controls and checks that EU requirements on goods are met. This may involve delays in transportation.

When will the outcome be known with certainty?

The risk of a no-deal withdrawal cannot be ruled out before an agreement has actually entered into force. For the UK’s part, approval by the UK parliament is required.

The Government, which is continuously assessing developments, will provide all the information possible in its communications with Swedish citizens and all actors in society.

How should companies get ready for Brexit?

The Government urges all companies concerned to take necessary measures to prepare for Brexit. In view of the current uncertainty, this should involve contingency planning to handle a no-deal withdrawal.

It is important that individual companies keep up-to-date with developments, analyse their specific risks and take necessary measures.

Several government agencies and other organisations are providing information about Brexit that targets the business community.

European Commission's Brexit checklist for traders

Brexit preparedness on the European Commission's website

Guidance on how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal on the UK government's website

Links to public authorities and other organisations that provide information about Brexit

FAQs on the National Board of Trade’s website
Swedish Customs’ Brexit information
Swedish Tax Agency’s website: how Brexit may affect you
Swedac’s Brexit information
Business Sweden’s website: Brexit information
Brexit page on Verksamt.se
Swedish Medical Products Agency’s Brexit page
National Food Agency’s Brexit page
Swedish Board of Agriculture’s Brexit information
Swedish Companies Registration Office’s Brexit information

Swedish Transport Agency’s website
Swedish Data Protection Authority’s website
Finansinspektionen’s website
Swedish Patent and Registration Office’s website

Orderly withdrawal based on the agreement: transition period until 2020

If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force, a transition period will begin when the UK leaves. This is intended to provide time for adjustment to what will eventually become the future relationship between the EU and the UK. During the transition period, the UK will proceed as if it were still an EU Member State, but without taking part in the EU’s decision-making. Thus, the country will be included in the EU’s legal system and be part of the single market and customs union. The period will run from withdrawal until the end of 2020. In the orderly scenario, the withdrawal will take place on the first day of the month following ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement. If the parties agree, the period can be extended once for a period of one or two years, and at most until the end of 2022. A decision to extend the transition period must have been taken by 1 July 2020.

Subsequently, the intention is for the future relationship between the EU and the UK to take effect. The framework for this has been outlined in the parties’ joint political declaration. Negotiations on agreements to regulate the future relationship can begin as soon as the UK has left the EU.

With regard to the future relationship, it is the parties’ objective to forge as close a relationship as possible given their negotiating positions. The UK Government has made it clear that it wants the UK to leave the EU single market and customs union. Even if the parties have agreed to create an arrangement that minimises the consequences of this as far as possible, it must be expected that it will be more complicated for EU-based companies to trade with the UK.