Update on Brexit: Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Update on Brexit: Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Nova Scotia companies conducting trade or operating in the UK will not experience changes to their trading arrangements during 2020 as Brexit enters a transition period.

The United Kingdom exited the European Union on January 31, 2020. The UK and EU will conduct negotiations on a new agreement during the transition period, which allows status-quo trade until December 31, 2020.

The UK will continue to participate in all Canada-EU agreements, including CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), during the transition period. Regardless of the outcome of the UK’s negotiations with the EU, Canada’s trade with EU members will continue to be governed by CETA.

If the transition period ends without an agreement between UK and EU, or a Canada-UK bilateral agreement, Canada’s trade with the UK may return to international World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, including most-favoured nation (MFN) treatment on trade in services and tariffs on goods, and non-preferential access on other items such as government procurement and investment.

Nova Scotia will continue to monitor the UK-EU negotiations, and will work with the Government of Canada to advance Nova Scotia’s interests in discussions to strengthen trade with the UK.

The United Kingdom is a valued trading partner. Exports of goods from Nova Scotia to the UK averaged $86.6 million annually over the past three years, placing it fifth among the province’s global export destinations. Nova Scotia also shares important transportation, cultural, military and historical links with the UK.

Nova Scotian companies should consider how a new UK-EU trade relationship, including the possible outcome of no agreement at the end of the transition period, could impact their businesses, and take steps to mitigate potential risks.

Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service has developed a Brexit web page that includes information for companies and important aspects to consider. It may be found here: https://www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca/united-kingdom-royaume-uni/information-brexit-renseignements.aspx?lang=eng

CETA, Canada’s progressive trade agreement with the EU, provides enhanced market access for Canadian exporters. Details about CETA may be found here:

If you have additional questions, please contact our team at the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs through the information provided below.

Signed, The Honourable Geoff MacLellan
Minister of Trade
Province of Nova Scotia

For more information: The Nova Scotia Department of Intergovernmental Affairs continues to closely monitor the impacts of trade actions on business sectors, workers and communities. Stakeholders seeking additional information, or needing assistance regarding the import or export of products, are invited to contact:


Marilla Stephenson, Director of Corporate and External Relations

Angela Houston, Director of Trade Policy

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