What Is Brexit? And What Happens Next?



Benjamin Mueller | NY Times

Britain broke from the European Union’s regulatory orbit on Jan. 1, casting off nearly half a century inside the bloc. While it formally left in January 2020, for 11 months Britain was in a transition period, operating under E.U. rules as negotiators settled on terms of the two sides’ future commercial relations.

The split, known as Brexit, has now been finalized, setting in motion what analysts say will be the biggest overnight change in modern commercial relations. A trade agreement between the two sides, far from closing the book on Britain’s tumultuous relationship with the rest of Europe, opened a new chapter, starting with an avalanche of trading obstacles on Jan. 1.

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