Thank you for contacting me about your concerns over the end of the transition period.
The Prime Minister has been in regular contact with the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and agreement on a trade deal has not yet been reached. Both sides agreed that it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile and continue negotiations in order to see if an agreement can be reached even at this late stage.
Whilst a deal that respects the UK’s sovereignty – similar to deals which the EU has signed with other friendly third countries such as Canada – is the paragon, we cannot concede to a deal at any cost. The EU must accept that it is now dealing with a sovereign nation or we will leave on a trading relationship similar to the one Australia enjoys with the EU.
The UK was always due to leave the single market and customs union at the end of the year and so there is no change in this regard.
Preparations for an end to the transition period without further agreement are being put in place. A significant investment in ports and border infrastructure was announced earlier this year and a nationwide advertising campaign on the steps we must all take at the end of the year is well underway.
Businesses must prepare now for changes. HMRC has written to 200,000 traders who trade with the EU to set out the new customs and tax rules that will be coming into force and how to respond to them. A Brexit Business Taskforce has also been established to provide a forum for dialogue with different business sectors.
Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, I am confident that we will prosper as an independent nation. We will have control over our borders, laws and fisheries and our economic and political independence will be restored.