EU Exit and beyond

The UK has left the EU, the transition period has ended and new rules are here. Act now to keep your business moving. 

Following the signing of the UK – EU Free Trade Agreement, there are new rules for businesses from 1 January 2021 which require immediate action. Businesses need to act now to comply with these new rules. If you do not take action, there is a risk your business operations will be interrupted.

  • Visit and use the checker tool to quickly identify the actions that your business needs to take. The checker tool will ask you questions about your business and provide all the information you need to be aware of regarding the new rules. You can then sign up to receive updates on the specific actions you need to take.
  • Sign up to receive the regular Business Readiness Transition Bulletin – an email newsletter providing information on major announcements and recently published guidance.

To help businesses adapt to these changes, a range of information has been made available:

As the Transition period has now ended, businesses involved in international trade need to be ready for new customs arrangements. Guidance on import licences and export licences for 2021 has also been updated. 

Four steps for importers and exporters to take now:

To support business preparations the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is hosting free webinars to help you check the new rules and understand the actions to take. Following the live events, the webinars are available to watch on demand. 


These webinars are tailored to different sectors, including:


  • life sciences
  • aerospace
  • construction
  • consumer goods 
  • metals and other materials 
  • retail
  • automotive
  • electronics and materials

Register or watch on demand here


For latest updates on webinars for businesses visit  

HMRC has published guidance on applying for grants for recruitment, training and IT improvements if businesses complete customs declarations. In addition, the following information has been updated:


List of customs agents and fast parcel operators   

Draft and final notices to be made under the Customs Regulations 

The Northern Ireland Protocol came into force from 1 January 2021The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has issued guidance on using the new UKNI conformity marking required when placing goods on the market in Northern Ireland. 

Updated 19 November


Letters from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have been sent to UK businesses about the specific actions their sectors need to take from 1 January 2021.


Click on the links below to read the sector-specific guidance:


Advanced manufacturing sector

Agri-food and biosecurity sector

Consumer goods sector

Metals and other materials sector

Life sciences sector

Chemicals sector

Retail sector

Professional and business services sector

Construction sector

Letter to businesses

From 1 January 2021 there will be changes to how the Intellectual Property (IP) system and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will operate. These changes will affect:

Find information about the key changes here: Intellectual Property after 1 January 2021


Help is available to ensure your business is ready:

  • Consider carefully where to disclose your designs to ensure they have adequate protection in their most important market. 
  • If you export IP-protected goods on the secondary or parallel market, contact the rights holder in the EEA to see if you have permission to continue to parallel export.
  • Consider if you want exports to continue if you are a business that owns the IP rights for goods currently parallel exported from the UK to the EEA.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) fee structure has also changed and a new fee structure for PCT applications is in effect from 1 January 2021. Find out more about the changes here.


If you do not take action, there is a risk your business operations will be interrupted. You can find out what other actions you may need to take by using the checker tool at and signing up for the Government’s business readiness updates.