UK urges businesses to prepare for end of Brexit transition

LONDON (Reuters) - The UK government on Sunday called on companies to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period, stating that they must take action whether or not a trade deal with the European Union comes about.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will not extend the transition period ending December 31, and progress will need to be made to fill significant gaps between the two sides in the coming days if an agreement is to be reached.
The Commerce Department argues that most of what companies need to do is the same regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, and has scheduled a series of industry-specific webinars for October.
"With just 81 days to go to the end of the transition period, companies must act now to ensure they are ready for the UK's fresh start in January," said Economy Secretary Alok Sharma, who will write to companies about the changes.
"There will be no extension of the transition period, so there is no time to lose."
Companies need to ensure that employees register for residence rights and prepare for customs procedures when trading with the EU, the government said.
The UK officially left the EU on January 31, but more than four years after voting 52% to 48% for Brexit in a 2016 referendum, both sides are haggling over a trade deal that will take effect when informal membership is on December ends. 31.
The two negotiators, Michel Barnier from the EU and David Frost from the UK, say they are moving towards an agreement before the October 15 deadline, but that important gaps remain in terms of fisheries, level playing field and governance. Both sides have planned a no-deal scenario.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Christina Fincher)

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