Brexit talks

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Status of negotiations

September 9, 2020

The Centre for European Reform produced a paper on August 18, 2020 that sets out the case for a Free Trade Agreement.

An FTA would:

  • prevent tariffs on goods flowing between UK and the EU, prospectively 10% on cars, 12.8% on lamb, reducing regulatory hurdles and reducing rate of physical inspection at the border on products of animal origin from up to 50% of consignments to near zero,
  • increase  the chance of the EU’s treating UK’s financial services and data regimes as equivalent to its own,
  • increase scope for EU and UK customs authorities to cooperate to mitigate the impact of exiting the transit period, perhaps introducing a further implementation period,
  • create an environment conducive to the successful implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol and a platform on which to build a more substantial  relationship in the future.

It  could also lead to continued recognition of professional qualifications in the EU and UK and make it easier to do short  term services contracts in both territories.

January 31, 2020

The UK whose parliament approved the Withdrawal Agreement in January, leaves the EU today after over 47 years of membership. From February 1 the UK starts a transition period during which it will seek to negotiate a free trade agreement. The transition is due to end on December 31, 2020. The EU is sceptical that an agreement can be reached in 11 months.

October 17, 2019

Prime Minister Johnson secures new Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. It is substantially the same as the agreement signed by his predecessor. The divorce bill of £39 billion and the protection of EU citizens’ rights remain unchanged.

The big change is that in place of the Irish backstop is a revised protocol that leaves Northern Ireland remaining within the EU customs union and Single Market and creates a customs and regulatory border between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain. This ensures that there is to be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB)received its second reading in the House of Commons on October 21.