More details of the deal regarding Brexit transition have emerged today and there is some cause for optimism. From an ecommerce merchants’ perspective, the are several issues of particular importance. Specifically, the timetable of exit, the future of the single market, how borders will work in general and also the status of Northern Ireland are of day-to-day concern. Some have now been clarified.
Firstly Monday saw an agreement on a transition period. Previously, March 2019 would have seen the UK fall out of the EU. But that’s now not the case. Under today’s agreement, all single market rights, including the free movement of goods and services, will persist now until the end of 2020. That means that there will be no change in the situation when it comes to sending goods within the EU for UK merchants for another 30 months. That should give some succour and encouragement to invest and expand for a now foreseeable future.
We must seize the moment and carry on the momentum of the last few weeks. The deal today should give us confidence that a good deal for the UK and EU is closer than ever before.
– Davis Davis, Brexit secretary
Needless to say several key issues do remain essentially unresolved but the direction of travel has been agreed. Northern Ireland is a key sticking point. It could well be that Northern Ireland will remain within the customs union and the single market, without a hard border with the Irish Republic. And that could potentially be an opportunity for ecommerce merchants. As we wrote before: Brexit deal could create ecommerce powerhouse in Northern Ireland.
Brexit is a challenge to ecommerce merchants, however you look at it. But an assured transition process and timeline is of particular importance because a “hard Brexit”, that was on the cards, would have been very dangerous. We now have full clarity between now and Hogmanay on the 31st March. That’s nearly 3 years of certainty on Brexit transition and most welcome.