Government begins to play its hand at the Brexit negotiation table

George Hay Chartered Accountants

The Government has begun to put out a number of position papers which aim to set out how it expects to negotiate with the European Union (EU) during the Brexit process.

The proposals, released at the end of August, set out how the trading of goods and services between the European market and the UK should continue once the country leaves in March 2019.

They argue that goods and services already existing and available in the UK and the EU markets should be allowed to remain on sale in the UK and EU without the threat of any additional restrictions being implemented at a later date.

The paper, entitled Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK, also calls for the preservation of current consumer protections.

If agreed to by the EU, this will mean that products authorised for sale in the EU, such as approval for a certain model of vehicle, should remain valid in both markets after exit.

Also, where businesses have undertaken compliance activities prior to exit, it should not be necessary for them to duplicate these activities to guarantee the continued sale of goods and therefore authorisations, certificates and registrations issued prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU should continue to be valid.

A number of other papers have also been published which deal with dispute resolution between parties in the UK and EU, the role of the European Court of Justice and the importance of discretion when the UK share official documents with its EU partners.

These papers are the first indication of the direction that the UK Government plans to take during negotiations with its European neighbours however, Brussels has refused to get drawn in on the papers saying that trade must not take precedence over talks about citizens’ rights, the so-called UK’s “divorce bill” and the Irish border situation.

David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, said: “These papers will help give businesses and consumers certainty and confidence in the UK’s status as an economic powerhouse after we have left the EU.

“They also show that as we enter the third round of negotiations, it is clear that our separation from the EU and future relationship are inextricably linked.

“We have already begun to set out what we would like to see from a future relationship on issues such as customs and are ready to begin a formal dialogue on this and other issues.”

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said that the Government’s position on trade is a “significant improvement” on EU proposals.

Nick Willis, Senior Partner at George Hay Chartered Accountants, commented: “It is clear that now more than ever businesses need reassurance. When it comes to Brexit, one sure-fire way to deliver this is by way of an urgent agreement concerning interim arrangements.

“Ideally, such arrangements would ensure that goods and services can be exchanged freely whilst the withdrawal progresses, giving companies the certainty and confidence that they need to continue to invest.

“Perhaps the simplest means of achieving this is for the UK to remain in the single market and the customs union until a comprehensive new deal is implemented.”

Here at George Hay, we understand the challenges that businesses are facing at this uncertain time. That is why we are on hand all year round to ensure you’re always up to date on the latest legislation and aware of the tax-saving opportunities available to you. We work across all industry sectors to provide comprehensive audit, accountancy, taxation and business advisory services, tailored to the requirements of your business. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you contact us on 01767 315010.

LINK: Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK

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