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Because the situation is fluid, we will be keeping this page up to date over the coming year as new developments occur. We'll be doing our best to help you navigate your way through the changing landscape. Remember, government guidance is summarised here.


Transitionary period

Although the UK left the European Union on the 31st January, a transitionary period is still active. That means a lot of rules won't come into effect until 2021 at the earliest. 

For example, if you are an exporter of plants, then you will have to adhere to new guidelines after the 1st January 2021.


Domestic trading

If you only trade domestically then it's expected that Brexit will have reasonably little impact on your eCommerce sales process. 

However, if you trade internationally, or have international suppliers, you may need to think about your online processes. This will be especially important if your website automates actions related to international transactions, whether related to supplier management or customer-facing eCommerce. 


International eCommerce within the EU

The rules for exporting to the EU are changing. Some examples are below, but if you have particular concerns or queries, we recommend that you seek specific legal advice. 


“Rules relating to online activities in European Economic Area (EEA) countries may newly apply to UK online service providers who operate in the EEA from 1 January 2021.”

The EU has released an eCommerce Directive which dictates the ways in which eCommerce companies trading within its boundaries should behave. If you sell to customers within the European Economic Area (EEA) this may apply to you, and you may wish to seek legal advice. 

Some of this directive extends the already existing data law, but other parts may have more far-reaching consequences. 


“The UK will become a third country and will need to meet EU third country import requirements to export regulated plants and plant products to the EU from 1 January 2021.”

Being a Third Country exporter of plants has an effect on delivery time and cost; this needs to be reflected in the checkout. 

Obviously, this is a very specific example, but we would strongly recommend that you investigate your industry for similar regulations as they will affect your business and your website. 


GDPR

The British goverment had taken a leading role in the creation of the GDPR legislation; if you were hoping it would go away, you've probably got a long wait to look forward to. 

As part of the European Withdrawal Agreement, the UK government agreed to incorporate GDPR equivalent legislation into future lawmaking. The Information Commissioner's Office predicts that there will be little change to the rules and guidance already in place. 

However, its worth remembering that if at the end of the transition period, the UK does not have equivalent legislation, the EU may rule that it is not a safe or responsible place to hold customer data. In that case, organisations will need to have sufficient processes in place to ensure the uninterrupted flow of customer data. 


Important

This does not constitute legal advice. If you have any concerns, please speak to a solicitor.