At 23:00 on 31 January, the United Kingdom left the European Union. On 28 January 2020 the Italian customs authority released a communication reminding various concerned parties that the withdrawal process will not be a sudden change and will continue in an orderly manner for citizens and businesses. As such, EU legislation and procedures on the free movement of people, services, capital and goods will remain the same until at least the end of 2020 – meaning that will be no changes for British-flagged vessels or British persons until 2021.

“Until 2021, the British flag will continue to be part of the Union territory,” explains SOS Yachting. “Yachts registered under this registry, until December 31 2020, keeps a free circulation regime in the Union territory (after proving to have paid VAT in an EU country) and continue to be unable to apply for these yachts to fall under the customs procedure for temporary admission.

Until 2021, the British flag will continue to be part of the Union territory.

“Throughout 2020, the transactions between Union economic operators, sent or transported from the United Kingdom to another of the 27 EU countries or vice versa will continue to be governed by the provisions of the internal regulation for ‘intra-community transactions’, in relation to which the obligation to submit intrastat summary lists where due.”

Only after 31 December 2020, unless otherwise agreed, will the UK no longer be part of the customs and taxation territory of the EU. From 1 January 2021 the movement of goods between the UK and EU will be considered trade with a third country. By that point, however, one hopes that the EU and UK will have been able to come to a series of reasonable agreements that establish clear and advantageous rules for goods and people entering, leaving or passing through the customs and taxation territory of the EU.


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