December 1, 2023

BREXIT: EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement


Change unsettles business.

“The fact is, any kind of uncertainty is poison for business, for investment, for any sort of decisions,” says Mr Simonian (British Swiss Chamber of Commerce.)

The post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU came into force on 1 January after negotiations came to a rushed end on Christmas Eve. Having a deal in place means that the fear that some goods could become more expensive has been avoided.

What are the key points of the deal?

  1. Businesses offering services, such as banking, architecture and accounting, will lose their automatic right of access to EU markets and will face some restrictions.
  2. There will no longer be automatic recognition of professional qualifications for people such as doctors, chefs and architects.
  3. There will be no taxes on goods (tariffs) or limits on the amount that can be traded (quotas) between the UK and the EU from 1 January
  4. Some new checks will be introduced at borders, such as safety checks and customs declarations.
  5. There will be no role in the UK for the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which is the highest court in the EU.
  6. Disputes that cannot be resolved between the UK and the EU will be referred to an independent tribunal instead.
  7. UK nationals will need a visa for stays of longer than 90 days in the EU in a 180-day period
  8. There are some new restrictions on certain UK animal food products. For example, uncooked meats like sausages and burgers can’t enter the EU unless they are frozen to -18C.
  9. The UK will no longer have automatic access to key security databases, but should be able to gain access upon request.
  10. The UK will not be a member of the EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol, but it will have a presence at its headquarters.
  11. The UK is no longer obliged to comply with EU standards of data protection, but data will continue to be exchanged in the same way for at least four months as long as the UK doesn’t change its data protection rules.

Key battlegrounds going forward in inter-island trade
a. Strategic variations in intra-nation taxation will become a competitive consideration.
b. Tech-industry regulation will bring a new phase of both competition and opportunity for entrepreneurial businesses
c. Food trade will be exposed to what the UK may do to find cheaper sources to feed the nation.

Cabinet Officer Minister Michael Gove compared it to a bumpy start to a flight, saying: “We all know that when an aeroplane takes off, that is the point where you sometime get an increased level of turbulence.

“But eventually, you then reach a cruising altitude and the crew tell you to take your seatbelt off and enjoy a gin and tonic and some peanuts.”

He added: “We are not at the gin and tonic and peanut stage yet, but I am confident we will be.”

Once change is absorbed, change is seen by progressive business as opportunity

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