Firstly, we are already out. What remains is merely the administrative part of the deal. It is easy to assume that because of the chaos that has ensued over the past five year’s Brexit will once again be delayed come 1st January 2021.
However, I think it is incredibly dangerous to take such a view and would argue strongly against it.
It is looking more and more likely that 1st January 2021 will be the date that the transition period will end for the UK to leave the EU. Like anything with Brexit, nothing is certain or absolute, but a few recent events suggest that this date is still a certainty.
It is important to note that the UK was required to log any request for an extension to the transition period by 30th June 2020 this did not occur.
Furthermore, Michael Gove made a clear statement that there would be no requested extension made.
Nowhere since this date has the government at any time suggested their view on this aspect has changed.
The UK government has repeatedly informed UK organisations that they must be ready by 1st January 2021 to complete customs clearance requirements.
Several organisations including some logistics based institutions such as the Road Haulage Association and BIFA have challenged the government suggesting that the industry would not be ready for the ‘Go live’ date. The government have repeatedly ignored or rejected these reports/claims and even implied that the hauliers would be to blame for any disruption resulting due to their lack of commitment to preparedness.
The UK government has provided funding to organisations to access training, recruit and pay initial salaries for Customs Clearance related staff. The UK government has also introduced a scheme that allows for a relaxed completion of entries for the first six months to help ease the blow.
The UK government is willing to find itself in court to defend its position regarding Northern Ireland borders in opposition to the European Union’s belief in the signed transition agreement. By my estimation, this does not sound like two sides that wish to extend their relationship.
These points suggest to me that the government will move forward with the end of the transition period on 1st January 2021, whether there is a deal or not.
To clarify, a ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ between the UK and the EU bears little if any impact on the requirement for Customs Clearance declarations between the two, so planning for them is a must either way.