Britons start facing their new Brexit world


Jan. 1 (UPI) — Britons woke up to its new Brexit world Friday — one in which it no longer has freedom of movement with other members of the European Union. Those transporting goods between Northern Ireland and Britain need to fill out customs declarations, and the service sector will be hit with fees.

The country, though, will get to call the shots on its own trade deals with other nations and will not be burdened with EU regulations on a host of issues, such as immigration, that brought on Brexit in the first place.


“This is an amazing moment for this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his New Year’s message Thursday.

“We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it. I think it will be the overwhelming instinct of the people of this country to come together as one United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — working together to express our values around the world.”

Goods crossing the border between Britain and EU member countries are now subject to customs and other checks, which could result in delays and disruptions as commercial truckers prepare paperwork physically and online.

There were no signs of trouble early Friday, though, as the first haulers transported goods across the new customs border between Britain and EU member France. They swiftly exchanged clearance documents to French agents before loading them onto a train to pass through the Eurotunnel.

Northern Ireland, which is part of Britain, remains operating under the EU, meaning anybody moving goods between Northern Ireland and Britain needs to fill out a customs declaration, while EU countries moving goods between them and Northern Ireland will not.

While the Brexit trade deal places no tariffs on British goods, that does not cover the country’s service sector. Britain exports roughly $35 billion in financial services to the EU every year alone and $134 billion in other services including legal, accounting, advertising, architecture, insurance and tech support.