Brexit has been put into practice: what does this change for me?
The British Houses of Parliament gave its blessing and the European Parliament also approved the Brexit deal. With this, the UK took the final hurdle before its departure from the European Union on 31 January 2020. During an 11-month transition period, the EU and the UK will try to find an agreement on the new trading relationship between them.
In the meantime, things will remain "as they were". What will this change for our Belgian companies and has the danger of a hard Brexit passed? You can read it here.
Belgium has very close trade relations with the United Kingdom. For the export and import of goods and services, the country is our 4th and 5th largest trading partner. It goes without saying that a messy divorce - a so-called hard Brexit - would have a major impact on the operational functioning and/or sales figures of many companies.
We should not look too far for the reasons:
- volatile exchange rate fluctuations
- more customs formalities
- falling demand for products and services
- different future regulations
At present, there is no guarantee that a hard Brexit has been avoided. During the transition period that started on 1 February, a lot of political work will still have to be done to manage the divorce. Will we drift apart after 31 December 2020 or remain integrated?
Febelfin is closely following this process. We are in contact with other sector federations to monitor the consequences of Brexit at sector level and - if necessary - to discuss supporting measures.
If you, as a business owner, should experience certain problems due to the Brexit, we advise you to talk to your banker as soon as possible. The sooner your bank is informed, the more opportunities there are to find a good solution together.
Where can I find additional information on Brexit for entrepreneurs?
- Flanders Invest & Trade: https://www.flandersinvestmentandtrade.com/export/internationaal/dossiers/brexit
- Awex: https://www.awex-export.be/fr/marches-et-secteurs/royaume-uni/brexit
- The Belgian custom services: https://financien.belgium.be/nl/douane_accijnzen/ondernemingen/brexit
- Federal portal: https://www.belgium.be/nl/brexit/u_bent_een_onderneming
- Information from the European Commission:
And what about consumers?
As a Belgian consumer, Brexit has little impact on your daily banking.
Even on holiday in the UK, for example, you will be able to continue to pay and withdraw cash with your Belgian debit and credit card.
It is a different story if you are a customer of a British bank or want to invest in British financial instruments:
- A British bank will have to open a branch in continental Europe (Belgium) to continue serving its customers.
- Whether consumers can invest in financial instruments issued or listed in the UK depends on whether the instruments still comply with EU rules after a possible hard Brexit. The banks will clearly inform their customers about this.