The UK services sector accounts for nearly 80% of the UK’s GDP and employs 4 in 5 workers across the country. The UK is the world’s second largest exporter of services and the EU is the largest recipient – equivalent to 40% of the UK’s total services exports. Trade in services between the UK and EU is underpinned by harmonised rules. At the end of the transition period many of these rules could fall away and market access to the EU may become restricted for many sectors post-Brexit. The guidance on this page represents the information currently available from government. The CBI will update this page as new information is released.
Key challenges for business
How will trading services between the UK to the EU work at the end of the UK's post-Brexit transition period?
UK services businesses exporting to the EU need to consider a range of changes, from the rights to establish in the EU, professional qualifications, to the free flow of data and to the movement of people. Some sectors, which are subject to sector-specific rules will also immediately lose the ability to access to the EU market for some of their services from the UK.
For businesses that import services from the EU, there should not be significant immediate changes – except in the case of some financial services. Find out more information for the financial services sector can be found.
How will UK businesses setting up a presence in the EU be affected?
UK businesses setting up a presence in the EU could face additional restrictions on their ability to provide services, and they could lose preferential rights to establish a presence in the EU at the end of the transition period. New barriers, including minimum numbers of locally resident staff for different roles; restrictions on the number of establishments; and foreign ownership rules, could be placed in front of UK firms on 1 January 2021. Find out more information on establishing and structuring your business.
How will the end of the transition period impact individuals with professional qualifications?
Different member states will treat individuals with UK-originating professional qualifications differently at the end of the transition period.
Regulated sectors of services industries currently rely on mutual recognition of professional qualifications (MRPQ). These qualifications will need to be officially recognised for an individual to work in a profession that is regulated in the EEA or Switzerland. It will need to be recognised by the appropriate regulator for the profession in each country where services will be carried out, including providing temporary or occasional services.
If your qualification has already been officially recognised by the relevant regulator in an EEA country or Switzerland, the regulator’s decision to recognise your qualification will remain valid post-Brexit.
EU citizens resident in the UK (and UK citizens in the EU) before the end of the transition period will have their professional qualifications recognised beyond December 2020. Applications for recognition which have been made, but not yet received a decision, will be concluded under the same rules as far as possible.