The UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum (a general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision) in June 2016 where a narrow majority (52%) of the voting population voted to leave the European Union organisation.
The process to enable this disentanglement of UK processes and EU processes is known as BREXIT.
The process should have led to the UK leaving the union on the 29th March 2019, however as the process needed agreement in the UK Parliament and this proved to be very contentious, the dates got revised to finally the 31st January 2020. Subsequently, there is a 12 month period to agree on final terms of the trading agreement which would determine how we do business with the rest of the EU under our new independent status. This period is due to end on the 31st of December so the new trading agreement is due to start on the 1st of the new year 2021.
What else is there to know?
You might hear several mentions of a Canada set of rules or Norway trading agreement, these are both non-EU countries that successfully trade with the EU, and therefore some of the models of trade they use have been examined to develop our own.
You might also hear of a No Deal Brexit, which would be the case where we fail to agree on a set of trading rules by the end of the year and then have to default to the World Trade Rules, which are a general set of rules used by the rest of the world for any trade between countries which don’t have a trading agreement in place. Whist trading agreements are the most important element of the agreements and vital to the economic prosperity of both sides, the agreement also has an element which governs how we manage other aspects of European cooperation like, immigration, legal systems, defense pact’s, farming and health standards.