More than three years after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union(EU), it has accomplished that goal. On Friday, January 31, atmidnight CET, the U.K.'s exit became a reality through a structuredwithdrawal agreement. While attention now turns to the future, theU.K.'s departure is bringing difficulties to the nation'sbusinesses in the near term.

Now that the Brexit date has passed, the U.K. can begin tonegotiate new trade agreements in earnest. The most important ofthese will define the country's future trading relationship withthe EU. Current U.K.-EU trading arrangements remain in place onlyuntil December 31, 2020. This short timeline makes it likely thatthe deal reached this year will be limited in scope, which couldpotentially spell a painful adjustment in 2021.

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