It really means leaving the EU before having negotiated a Free Trade Agreement, and hence trading under World Trade Organization rules. There is no question of cutting all ties, as if in a state of war: many arrangements are being made, or have already been made, to facilitate post-March trade with the EU, and details are given below. Moreover, many international trade arrangements are independent of the EU.
- ‘No deal’ is a misnomer. What will happen, and is already happening, is that the UK and EU will enter a series of mini-deals for specific issues and sectors, while businesses will make their own preparations
- The EU and UK have already agreed to continue with the common transit convention, easing the movement of goods around Europe, and to allow car type approvals to be transferred between them
- EU draft ‘no-deal’ notices actually propose a series of continuity agreements for financial services, aviation, citizens’ rights and customs
- Customs authorities in France and the Netherlands have been working to be ready to deal with new arrangements from April next year, as is becoming publicly known
- UK firms in pharmaceuticals, vehicles, aerospace and aviation have already taken action to maintain trade with the EU in the event of a ‘no-deal’ outcome
- Meanwhile, the UK has reached air traffic deals with the US and several other major countries to replace EU deals and has agreed a draft trade deal with Switzerland
Much of the public debate has been dominated by alarmist propaganda: see our Briefing File on ‘Project Fear’ for an analysis.
A more detailed summary of the facts
A resume of the arrangements already in place or now being finalized
A brief but comprehensive rebuttal of the Remain side’s fake news