Skip to content

Brexit round-up – 31/01/20

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.

European Parliament ratifies Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

On 29 January the European Parliament ratified the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement which agrees the terms of the UK’s department from the EU on 31 January. The Parliament’s president, David Sassoli, signed the letter confirming the EU’s consent and said “You are leaving the EU but you will always be part of Europe…It is very hard to say goodbye. That is why, like my colleagues, I will say arrivederci.”  President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said ratification of the withdrawal deal was “only a first step” towards a new partnership between the EU and the UK.  The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc would approach talks on the future relationship with “patience” and “objectivity” while defending its members’ interests.

For more information please click here.

EEA EFTA Separation Agreement signed

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has signed the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement on behalf of the UK together with representatives from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.  The agreement protects the rights of 17,000 UK nationals living in the EEA EFTA States and 15,000 EEA EFTA nationals living in the UK, ensuring that at the end of the Transition Period they will be able to enjoy broadly the same rights as they do now.  The Brexit Secretary said “This agreement underlines the importance of our relationships with our close friends and allies in the EEA EFTA states.  It will protect the rights of citizens and provide certainty to business as the UK leaves the EU, ensuring an orderly withdrawal and smooth transition as we put in place new arrangements for our future relationship with the EEA EFTA States.”

For more information please click here.

Government aiming for zero tariff, zero quota trade deal

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has said that the government’s objectives for trade talks will be published after Brexit on 31 January but he said that the government is aiming to secure a “zero tariff, zero quota” free trade deal with the EU.  After Brexit, the UK will enter into an agreed transition period with the EU until 31 December 2020 but will need to agree a free trade deal with the EU in that timeframe to ensure UK goods are not subject to trade barriers such as tariffs.  He said “The key issue is that we will have control of our rules, we will not be a rule-taker, we will not diverge for the sake of diverging.  We start from a position of alignment but the key opportunity is that we will be able to set our standards, high standards, on worker’s rights, on the environment, on state aid as part of that trade policy.”

For more information please click here.

US-UK trade deal plans for this year

Once the UK leaves the EU on 31 January, the UK will be free to negotiate and sign new trade deals with countries who do not have existing EU deals, such as the US.  Secretary of the Treasury for the US Steve Mnuchin has said that US wants to agree a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK this year and that the US was “prepared to dedicate a lot of resources” to do so.  He said that President Donald Trump had previously said the UK would “be at the top of the list” for a deal and said “If the UK and US have very similar economies with a big focus on services, and I think this will be a very important relationship.”

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 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.

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