REGULATION Brexit- it could be a yes or a no, or both David Wright, UKLA Director General

In my previous column I talked about the Brexit process beginning with an agreement in principle between the lead negotiators of Dominic Raab for the UK Government and Michel Barnier for the EU. Following this there would be a meeting of EU leaders to agree terms which would then be put to a formal vote in the UK Parliament first, before being considered by the EU Parliament.

Although the formal terms were not laid before the UK Parliament in October as expected, UK Government still hopes that a deal would be laid before the UK Parliament in November which would still leave enough time for both Parliament’s due process ahead of the 29th March, the notional date of exit of the UK from the EU.

At the end of September UK Government issued a series of technical notices around a ‘no deal’ exit which would mean that the UK would leave the EU on 29th March 2019 without terms agreed for the withdrawal or future trading terms. The UK would then default to World Trade Organisation (or WTO terms) until new terms of trading could be agreed with the EU and other trading partners.

These technical notices covered topics such as the Biocidal Products Regulation, REACH and the import and export of goods after March 2019. However they were not very detailed and it is UK Government’s intention to provide further notices in December on these issues. These technical notices can be found on the UK Government website under preparing for a ‘no deal’.

At the same time UK Government intends to lay before Parliament Statutory Instruments (Si) underpinning their approach to these complex subjects, around December. If terms are agreed with the EU and UK before December then these Sis would be suspended.

At the moment UK Government expects UK businesses to be preparing for a ‘no deal’ and to plan their contingencies accordingly. Although for some sectors the costs of planning and implementing contingencies would be prohibitive especially if there were to be a deal agreed between both parties. The other issue is timing, to appoint an Only Representative in the EU to safeguard UK REACH registrations, for example, would take around a year so there simply isn’t enough time left to plan, prepare or even implement some contingencies.

The other added complication is the treatment of any deal in the UK Parliament if a concerted opposition forced the deal to fall which may well lead to a motion of confidence in the UK Government, a change of Prime Minister or even a change of Government.

With EU elections due next year and Angela Merkel already having given notice of her intention to stand down as Germany’ Chancellor in 2021 then this is a particularly sensitive time for any party to be negotiating events for which no precedent currently exists.

At the time of writing terms for a proposed deal with the UK remaining in the customs union have reported to be laid before a meeting of the UK cabinet, or senior members of the Government, in which case a meeting of European leaders will be set for November to agree the deal in principle.

I am still optimistic that a deal will be concluded to the satisfaction of both parties and a solution to the deal-blocking issue of the Northern Ireland border problem, will be found.





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