On 31 January 2020, the UK is set to leave the EU and enter the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. Are there any immediate changes that businesses need to be aware of?
The general position
For most businesses, there will be little immediate change, because during the transition period the UK will, for most purposes, continue to be treated as if it were still a member state of the EU. However, businesses should take note of the following:
Care should be taken when defining territory by reference to the "EU" or "EEA"; if the intention is to include the UK in the relevant territory, the agreement will need to say so (because although the UK will still be subject to EU law during the transition, legally, it will no longer be part of the EU or EEA). For a more detailed discussion of the issues, including the implications for agreements which predate 31 January 2020, see this briefing. For a checklist to assist with "Brexit-proofing" your contracts generally, see this briefing.