Skip to content

Brexit round-up – 21/02/20

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.

The UK’s points-based immigration system

After much speculation the Government has finally issued some details of the new points-based immigration system that will be in place from 1 January 2021. This affects anyone from outside the UK wishing to work, live or study here from this date and it will apply to EU and non-EU nationals equally for the first time.

For more information please click here.

UK Global Tariff consultation

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the UK is now free to set its tariff rates on imported goods which will apply to all goods imported into the UK. The bespoke UK tariff regime will enter into force on 1 January 2021 and replace the EU’s Common External Tariff. The Government will have regard to the principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 when setting the tariffs and also seek to balance strategic trade objectives. As part of this process the Government has launched a four-week public consultation to seek views. The consultation began on 6 February 2020 and closes on 5 March 2020. The consultation seeks views on a potential series of amendments to the EU’s Common External Tariff to create a bespoke UK tariff regime, specific feedback on individual products or commodity codes of importance (including the corresponding tariff rate) and information on your interactions with Most Favoured Nation tariffs and the importance of tariffs to sectors.

For more information please click here.

Sub-Committee launches inquiry on the level playing field

The EU Internal Market Sub-Committee launches an inquiry into the role of the level playing field in UK-EU negotiations, with a particular focus on state aid. The inquiry will explore how the level playing field and state aid rules will feature in negotiations of the future relationship between the UK and the EU, focusing on what level playing field commitments are and how they operate in EU free trade agreements, especially as regards social and labour rights and state aid, the EU’s approach to state aid rules and possible reforms at EU level and what opportunities are open to the UK in formulating its own state aid policy, in particular for supporting wider objectives such as “levelling up” the country and meeting climate targets. The Sub-Committee is expecting to publish a long letter to the Government in April.

For more information please click here.

UK “must have the ability to set laws that suit us”

Chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, has said that the UK must be able to set its own laws following Brexit and dismissed the idea that an EU court would have a role in future trade disputes. In a speech in Brussels he said “It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us – to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has. So to think that we might accept EU supervision on so-called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing.” He also confirmed that the Government will not extend the transition period beyond the current date of 31 December 2020 and if the UK cannot agree a Canada-type agreement by this time that it would trade on the basic international terms it currently follows with Australia.

For more information please click here.

Barnier dismisses UK trade deal ambitions

The bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said that the UK cannot have the same trade deal with the EU as Canada due to its “particular proximity.” He said the EU was ready to offer an “ambitious partnership” however he went on to say “A trade agreement that includes in particular fishing and includes a level playing field, with a country that has a very particular proximity – a unique territorial and economic closeness – which is why it can’t be compared to Canada or South Korea or Japan.”

For more information please click here.

BRC warns consumers will suffer without EU trade deal

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has issued a report, A Fair Deal for Consumers: EU Trade Roadmap, which warns that consumers face higher prices and reduced availability of goods if the Government fails to make a pragmatic agreement with the EU. The BRC is calling for pragmatic solutions on future compliance and regulatory checks that will apply from January 2021. BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said “The Government must set about to negotiate a zero tariff agreement that minimises checks and red tape otherwise it will be consumers who suffer as a result. The introduction of excessive or avoidable checks would mean businesses face a mountain of paperwork to be filled out by an army of newly trained staff, coupled with exhaustive checks on thousands of lorries every day. And the result for consumers would be higher costs and reduced availability on the shelves.”

For more information please click here.

If you have any questions about any of the issues which are raised, or would like to discuss your own organisation’s options during the Brexit process, 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.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with all the latest updates and insights from our expert team

Take me there

What we're thinking