UK-DK Trade: Keeping business moving as UK leaves the EU

Time to take a side, old friend (photo: Pixabay)
September 28th, 2020 7:00 pm| by Gareth Garvey
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On 1 January 2021 trading arrangements between Denmark and the UK will change. 

Good news, bad news
During the transition period the UK has traded with the EU on the same basis as an EU member, even though the UK officially left the EU on February 1. 

During the transition period both parties have been involved in negotiations about the future relationship. The bad news is that we still have some uncertainty. The good news is that the negotiations will conclude, one way or another, within the next few weeks.  

Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, has recently stated that if a deal has not been reached by October 15 – the date of the European Council meeting – he does not see a free trade agreement being reached. 

Coping with the changes
Whatever the outcome of the negotiations, there will be changes from January 1, and businesses on both sides of the North Sea that trade with each other will need to be prepared for these changes.

In preparation for these changes, the UK government announced the ‘Keep Business Moving’ campaign on September 7. The campaign will direct EU traders to a dedicated gov.uk page that provides information on what they need to do to continue trading smoothly with the UK at the end of the year. 

Some are well prepared
Many large companies are already well prepared for the end of the transition period, with dedicated teams monitoring developments and concocting plans to deal with different scenarios.

Smaller businesses with significant UK/DK trade will also need to react to changes made to border controls, rules of origin requirements, potential tariffs, VAT registration and payment, personal data regulations etc. They will also need to consider any impact these changes will have on their costs and make the necessary adjustments.

100 days to go …
Every business with UK/DK trading links will still have some work to do. As we approach 100 days to the end of the transition (September 23) all companies should review their readiness.  It looks like the ‘Keep Business Moving’ gov.uk/eubusiness will be a vital source of up-to-date information to help Danish businesses continue trading smoothly with the UK after 1 January 2021.

On top of the mechanics of the changes, we all need to remember that Denmark and the UK have a long trading history during which our companies, both large and small, have developed strong trading relationships. Working closely with our customers and suppliers and sharing experiences with each other (e.g. with the help of our chamber) will make a big difference as we navigate the changes.

Gareth Garvey


Gareth (gareth@bccd.dk), who has a passion for creativity and innovation in business, has been the CEO of the British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark since the start of 2017. Gareth has a background in management consultancy working for Price Waterhouse, PwC Consulting and IBM, and he also teaches at Copenhagen Business School.