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Brexit round-up – 24/04/20

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.

Joint statement issued on Brexit

On 15 April 2020, David Frost and Michel Barnier, the UK and EU chief negotiators on the future UK-EU relationship, held a meeting by video conference and issued a joint statement. At the meeting, they said that the technical work that had taken place since the first negotiating round on the basis of the legal texts exchanged by both sides had been useful in identifying all major areas of divergence and convergence. They agreed that they need further negotiating rounds “in order to make real, tangible progress” in the negotiations by June 2020. The next negotiating rounds will each last a full week and will take place via video conference. They will be held in the weeks commencing on 20 April 2020, 11 May 2020 and 1 June 2020 and that agendas for all negotiating rounds will be published online.

For more information please click here.

UK and EU should not “add to uncertainty” says the IMF

Managing director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, has said that because of the “unprecedented uncertainty” arising from the coronavirus pandemic, it would be “wise not to add more on top of it” by refusing to extend the period to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal. She said that in relation to an extension to trade talks “My advice would be to seek ways in which this element of uncertainty is reduced in the interests of everybody, the UK, the EU, and the whole world.” The UK put into law a refusal to trigger provisions to extend the Brexit implementation phase beyond the end of the year.

For more information please click here.

Customs won’t be ready for Brexit

Businesses are worried that there will be hold-ups at UK borders due to changes in custom checks following Brexit in light of the current coronavirus pandemic and the Government’s refusal to extend the transition period. Under the Government’s proposals, companies will have to complete customs declarations when exporting to or importing from the EU however the pandemic is preventing businesses from being trained and ready to deal with the changes. Ministers have set aside £34 million to help up to 250,000 companies that trade with the EU but Liam Smyth, Director of International Trade at the British Chambers of Commerce said “The funding the Government has announced so far isn’t enough. If the Government is serious they should invest more to employ and train the huge number of people needed to keep the UK trading beyond transition.” Alex Veitch, head of international policy at the Freight Trade Association, said planning for an exit from EU rules at the same time as navigating the coronavirus crisis was “not possible.” He also noted that the kinds of jobs being furloughed “are those which are crucial to managing Brexit.” However, HMRC said “The UK already has a well-established industry of customs intermediaries who serve British businesses trading outside the EU. The Government’s £34m grant scheme will support the growth of this sector to encompass EU trade after 2020.”

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.

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