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EU approves UK withdrawal agreement, transition phase begins on 1 February 2020

On 30th January 2020, the Council of the European Union (EU) adopted the agreement for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK). The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 was ratified by the UK on 23rd January 2020 and approved by the European Parliament on 29th January 2020.

Therefore, as of 1st February 2020, the UK will no longer be a member state of the EU. During the subsequent interim phase (transition phase), scheduled to end on 31st December 2020, the UK will remain a member of the European Union customs union and common market.

According to an updated release from 29th January 2020 by the German Customs administration (Generalzolldirektion), it is the legal perspective of the European Commission that the UK should also be treated like an EU member state during the transition phase in terms of the EU's Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with third countries. The EU Commission is planning to inform third-country FTA partners [correction from previous blog post] about this view. Currently, it remains unclear whether all third-country FTA partners will continue to accept EU-issued Certificates of Origin for products with relevant content of UK origin.

A German Customs hotline will be available on 1st and 2nd February 2020 for further questions.

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