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Focus on Brexit: are we more prepared?
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By Matthew Limb and Josh Loeb

This time last year, when a no-deal Brexit seemed a distinct possibility, Vet Record examined in detail its implications across seven key areas of interest to vets – UK-EU trade, medicines, the Irish border, workforce, transporting animals, animal welfare and education/research funding (VR, 12 October 2019, vol 185, pp 429-432; 19 October 2019, vol 185, pp 463-467).

Then Brexit happened – not a no-deal Brexit, but Brexit with a time-limited implementation period. Now, as the clock ticks down on trade talks between the UK and EU, we return to these subject areas to see what – if anything – has changed since last year and to gauge preparedness ahead of the ‘real’ Brexit date of 31 December 2020 when the UK will leave the EU single market and customs union at 23:00.

As we did last time around, we have provided a traffic light ‘score’ to indicate our assessment of the UK’s preparedness (with green indicating ‘ready’, red ‘not ready’ and amber somewhere in between). This is, admittedly, a necessarily subjective judgement. Any changes from last year’s score are also noted in summaries below.

This first article will focus on UK-EU trade, medicines and the Irish border. The second article will feature in the next issue of Vet Record, and will cover workforce, transporting animals, animal welfare and education/research funding.

UK-EU trade

Rating unchanged from last year

The terms of the UK’s future trade with the EU are, as yet, still largely unknown. The UK is following EU trade rules until the Brexit transition period ends at the end of the year. There is presently no agreed deal for future UK-EU trade.

Without an agreed deal, the UK would trade with the EU under a basic set of …

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