EU Exit Information – The End of the 2020 Transition


Please check our events page for our series of rail specific sessions with government officials to help explain different aspects of the EU Trade Agreement. 

The UK left the EU at 11pm on 31 January 2020. This marked the start of the so called ‘transition phase’ which ended at 11pm on 31 December 2020. On 24th December 2020 the UK and EU agreed a ‘trade deal’ which has now been enacted into UK law, the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020, receiving Royal Assent on 30th December. During the transition phase the UK continued to be subject to EU rules and remained a member of the single market and customs union. Post 31 December this is no longer the case; the UK is no longer part of the customs union and new processes will apply.

A summary of the trade deal can be found here and the full text is here

The Brexit Transition Checklist  provides a useful reference and gives a list of actions of what you can do to prepare for these changes. You can sign up for email alerts and complete a short questionnaire for your personalised list of actions here.

On behalf of members the Rail Forum is continuing to take part in a series of ongoing DfT Roundtable discussions. We are also in close contact with Dept for BEIS and DIT. Several questions have been posed by roundtable participants, including the Rail Forum, and DfT have committed to answering these as quickly as possible. Updates to all the questions/answers will be provided here (the latest update is from 17th March)

21-03-17 EU Exit Stakeholder Q+A Log

A summary of the key issues for Rail Forum members to consider and take action on are outlined below.


The trade deal provides for no tariffs on goods imported from/exported to the EU provided that the  agreed Rules of Origin criteria are met. That said, customs arrangements have changed from 1st January 2021 and the actions set out here Importing and Exporting from the EU will be required.

Detailed information about the Rules of Origin have also now been published.

Department for BEIS have given a brief update which can be found here Rules of Origin – Update from BEIS – Jan 2021.  There are also some useful slides: Rules of Origin webinar slides.  A document with FAQs on Tariffs and Rules of Origin (RoO) in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement can be found here: RoO FAQ1.

Members may also find these slides on Tariffs and Rules of Origin useful

21-01-14 Tariffs and Rules of Origin webinar slides

Videos about trading with the EU can be found by following this link

Updated online tools: ‘Check How to Export Goods’ and ‘Trade with the UK’

DIT has two online tools which are the go-to source of information for businesses who trade internationally. The tools provide product-specific and country-specific information, which helps to save time and makes it easier to understand the changes that came into effect on 1st January 2021. Check How to Export Goods (CHEG) is for UK businesses that export goods from the UK and Trade with the UK (TWUK) is for international businesses that export goods into the UK.

Common Transit Procedure
BEIS have raised the issues around the common transit procedure with HMRC and they are working with HMG officials at Office of Departure and Inland Border Facilities to smooth the transit procedure. They have provided some advice here that might help decrease the delays.

In order to better support companies who are dealing with current challenges in relation to imports/exports HMRC have expanded their customer helpline to 24/7. The Customs and International Trade Helpline is 0300 322 9434.



The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is a new UK product marking that will be used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking. For many products there is a period of grace until 1 January 2022, however, in some instances the new requirements come into force from 1 January 2021. Full details on what will be required are here : UKCA and CE Marking



The slides on the below link explain the UK Points-Based Immigration System and EU Settlement Scheme

The UKs PB Immigration System and the EU Settlement Scheme

The below slides provide guidance on issues to consider prior to travelling to the EU (eg visa requirements etc). Whilst issued before the deal was agreed they are still applicable.

Mode 4 Mobility

General information/guidance on skills related issues cane found here:  People and Skills

Recognition of Professional Qualifications

There is no specific provision in the agreement for mutual recognition of professional qualifications; at this stage a framework has been agreed and recognition is to be addressed on a profession by profession basis. Rail Forum members are encouraged to share any concerns or issues they have so that we can raise these with the appropriate government department as part of the ongoing negotiations on this subject.



UK REACH, the UK’s independent chemicals regulatory framework, starts on 1 January 2021. Anyone making, selling or distributing chemicals in the UK and the EU needs to follow UK REACH and EU REACH rules. Further information can be found here:  Chemicals Regulations



The UK will no longer follow the EU Technical Standards for Interoperability. These are replaced from 1 January 2021 with new National Technical Specification Notices. RSSB has published helpful guidance on the new arrangements here: EU Technical Standards for Interoperability (TSIs)



The agreement does not include detailed arrangements covering the flow of information between UK/EU (with certain exceptions). This is to be the subject of a separate decision due in the Spring. In the meantime guidance for actions to take can be found here: Data and Intellectual Property



General Useful Links :    Useful links


Free Trade Deals and International Agreements
The UK has secured a number of free trade agreements with various non EU countries and in addition has agreed ‘continuing arrangements’ with several others that effectively mirror the current arrangements we have previously had through EU membership. The Department for International Trade have published guidance to help you find out which trade agreements with non-EU countries are in place during and after the transition period. UK trade agreements with non-EU countries. 


Other Guidance and Information 

The Competition and Markets Authority has published guidance on its functions under the Withdrawal Agreement. The guidance is intended for businesses and their legal advisors but may also be of interest to other enforcers. UK Exit from the EU: Guidance on the functions of the CMA under the Withdrawal Agreement. 

The Ministry of Justice has produced guidance for legal services business owners on preparing the end of the transition period.  Legal services business owners from 1 January 2021 

Companies House has produced guidance to help you find out whether your business will need to change its company registration from 1 January 2021, and how to do this. Changing your company registration from 1 January 2021.


Rail Safety and Interoperability Guidance for the end of the Transition Period

The DfT has published additional guidance on the changes to the rail safety and interoperability regimes that will take effect from 1 January. This follows the high level guidance on Rail transport from 1 January 2021 published in October, and is intended to provide more detailed and practical information on specific requirements.