The UK has triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begun the formal process that will take it out of the European Union.
Prime minister Theresa May has officially notified the EU of Britain's wish to terminate its EU membership, a process that will be completed in two years' time. Attentions have now turned to the agreement of a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU, negotiations for which can begin soon.
In her letter, Mrs May spoke of her hopes to secure a "bold and ambitious free trade agreement", saying her government will approach the talks "constructively, respectfully and in a spirit of sincere cooperation".
However, contentions were raised over a statement implying that a failure to reach a deal would lead to the UK's cooperation on European security issues to be "weakened", which many EU officials have interpreted as a threat.
Meanwhile, a European parliament resolution has indicated that Britain will not be given a free trade deal by the EU in the next two years, with any post-Brexit transition arrangement lasting no longer than three years.
These early exchanges indicate that many hurdles need to be cleared before a new trade pact can be put in place.