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Brexit round-up – 06/12/19

Welcome to this, our latest Brexit round-up. Each week we provide a succinct round-up of the latest news surrounding the Brexit process, so you can keep abreast of the issues which are likely to affect your organisation.

Can a trade deal be negotiated between the EU and the UK in time?

Under the Withdrawal Agreement Boris Johnson negotiated, the existing arrangements between the EU and UK would temporarily continue until 31 December 2020, with goods and services flowing freely across borders.  After that it is unclear what will happen should Brexit go ahead.  Boris Johnson has said that if he wins the election he would negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU which would be ready to go at the end of 2020.  It is unclear whether it would be possible to put such an agreement in place within that timescale, usually negotiations take several years.  The EU’s deal with Canada took more than 5 years to negotiate and a further 3 years before it came into force.  It is possible to extend the transition period by negotiating an extension of 1 or 2 years but that decision must be made by 1 July 2020 or the Withdrawal Agreement would need to be amended or a new one agreed to extend beyond that period, which it is argued may not be legally possible.  If no agreement is reached the UK would default to World Trade Organization terms meaning British exporters would have the same access to the EU as do other countries with no trade agreement.

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EU chief warns UK to keep closely aligned after Brexit

The European Union’s financial services boss Valdis Dombrovskis has said the European Commission would remain observant in ensuring that British rules comply with the EU’s own standards for protecting consumers and guaranteeing financial stability.  Once the UK leaves, the EU is willing to allow the UK to use an “equivalence” system after its proposals for the possibility of a permanent access deal for financial services were rejected as part of the Brexit negotiations.  He said that the UK would then need to stay aligned with the EU as if a country “is either diverging from EU legislation, or not following up EU legislation, in this case the equivalence determination can also be withdrawn.”

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If you have any questions about any of the issues which are raised, or would like to discuss your own organisation’s options in the lead-up to Brexit, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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