During the Brexit negotiations in 2017, both sides agreed that trade negotiations could only begin after the UK withdrew, as such negotiations could not take place if the UK still has a veto within the EU.  For this and other reasons, a transition period was set after Brexit day to allow for these negotiations. This transitional period began on 1 February 2020, in accordance with the withdrawal agreement. The first deadline is December 31, 2020, which can be extended by two years.  The British government has stated that it will not seek such an extension.  In addition, it clarified that the only type of trade agreement that the United Kingdom is interested in, if at all, is a Canadian-style trade agreement, as indicated in Barnier`s slide “Stairs”.”  Even if the UK does not accept new EU standards from 2021, it will recover only a small part of its regulatory sovereignty. This is because WTO rules set out in great detail a large number of health standards, such as pesticide residues in food or hygiene requirements in processing. Other standards are generally based on international compliance and certification rules. So there will be little national room for manoeuvre here, too.
This is particularly the case for standards that cannot be controlled directly in the product itself when crossing the border (see comment 49/2014 of the CSP). Bilateral agreements can also have an impact on the treatment of product standards in different sectors (see table on page 4). The EU-Japan agreement (for motor vehicles) and CETA (for medical devices) are examples of mutual recognition of certification systems. The EU also unilaterally recognises the certification procedures for organic products from different third countries. From March 2020, representatives of the UK and the EU began negotiations for a trade agreement to facilitate trade only in the absence of such an agreement. The agreement could cover (or remove) both tariff and non-tariff barriers. The second phase, which covers relations between the EU-27 and the UK after Brexit, is expected to begin “as soon as the European Council decides that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase to reach a satisfactory agreement on the modalities of an orderly exit.”  The first opportunity for this decision was taken on 19 October 2017 at a summit of EU heads of state and government.  Although it was agreed at this session to begin negotiations at the December session.  The British Parliament passes a law requiring the UK government to ask for a postponement of Brexit if there is no deal with the EU by 19 October 2019.