ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

EU law and business: implications of Brexit

Much Brexit guidance is concerned mainly with trade in goods, but there are a variety of other areas of EU law that also affect business. Our guide gives you a framework to understand these implications. It will be particularly relevant for services businesses seeking to assess how they are impacted.

Clearly, businesses with cross-border activities will be more impacted by Brexit than those serving purely domestic customers. The EU law, regulation and initiatives that impact materially on a particular business will depend on the nature of its operations and its individual circumstances. But there are a variety of ways in which businesses might be affected.

EU law and business: Brexit implications

Read our full guidance

Download the guide

The EC provides summaries of the main aspects of legislation, but most businesses will be interested in finding out which of these most impact them. A good place to start is the government guidance which covers a number of sectors as well as some generic topics where EU law is particularly relevant.

Although it is not possible in a short guide to list all of the EU law that applies to business, we have set out below a framework to help explain some of the most relevant implications.

Central to the operation of the EU are the "four freedoms" established in the 1957 Treaty of Rome: the freedom of movement of goods, services, people and capital. These are core to the operation of the single market. It is worth noting that the "four freedoms" do not rely solely on EU membership; elements of the freedoms are also replicated by members of the EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). Switzerland is outside the EEA but also reciprocates many of the freedoms with the EU on a bilateral basis. 

Our guide explains how the four freedoms and EU law more generally apply to your business. It helps you assess the sectors which might be most affected by Brexit and sets out an action plan to help you respond.

The guide covers the following sections:

  • How does EU law affect business
  • What could this mean for the UK/EU after Brexit
  • Which sectors could be most affected by Brexit
  • What can I do to help prepare my business for Brexit

This guide is one in a series of guidance ICAEW has published to help you to prepare for Brexit. Further resources can be found in our Brexit hub.