The UK Internal Market Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 17 December 2020 and came into force on 1 January 2021 following the end of the Brexit transition period. The new Act ensures that businesses can continue to trade seamlessly across all four parts of the UK as the EU’s internal market rules have come to an end.
The UK Internal Market Act 2020 establishes 2 principles (the Market Access Principles) that apply to goods and services, ensuring the UK’s shared internal market continues to operate effectively:
- the principle of mutual recognition (MR) ensures regulations from one part of the UK are recognised across each of the others
- the principle of non-discrimination (ND) supports companies trading in the UK, regardless of where in the UK they are based, by preventing unreasonably discriminatory regulation
It has also been confirmed that a new Office for the Internal Market (OIM) will monitor the running of the UK Internal Market. The OIM will provide independent, technical advice to all four administrations and their legislatures and sit within the Competition and Markets Authority. The OIM will began operating later in 2021, once the appointments process has been completed by the Business Secretary.
While the appointments process takes place, the government will continue to monitor and protect the UK’s internal market in cooperation with the devolved administrations.