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After exiting the EU on 31 January 2020, the UK entered into a time-limited transition or implementation period, during which the transitional arrangements provided in Part 4 of the Withdrawal Agreement apply.
The transition period was intended as a standstill period during which the UK and EU could finalise the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and negotiate and implement the terms of their future relationship. The transition period is due to end on 31 December 2020, but Article 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement made provision for the transition period to be extended by agreement for up to one or two years on a one-off basis. Despite the tight timescales, the UK pledged not to request or agree any extension early on, and has stuck to this pledge despite calls to reconsider, particularly in light of the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). Article 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement specified that any extension to the transition period must be agreed in the Joint Committee before 1 July 2020. With this deadline passed, many consider the question of an extension to be closed, but there is much left to resolve in order to prepare fully for the end of transition and the new regime taking effect on 1 January 2021.
The UK government has long insisted that it would not seek an extension to the post-Brexit transition period beyond 31 December 2020. This position was written into law, via section 15A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (which prohibited any extension being agreed in the Joint Committee) and confirmed at the second meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee on 12 June 2020, see: LNB News 12/06/2020 77. As this was the last scheduled Joint Committee meeting before the extension deadline, the UK considered the matter to be closed at that point. Though EU representatives remained open to the option of extending, the UK's decision was noted by the EU. While the passing of the deadline was expected, it is still a significant
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