With President Biden’s inauguration taking place this week, there is much hope in the UK that talks on trade will start moving forward, as they have been halted until now due to the discussions over a post-Brexit trade agreement. But while we are waiting for some updates coming from across the Atlantic, let us bore you with some updates on Brexit that have been developing this week!
Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby the new UK ambassador to the EU
This week, Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, a career diplomat and deputy chief negotiator for Brexit, has been announced as the UK ambassador to the EU. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stated that his previous knowledge and expertise will be vital as the UK’s friendly cooperation with the EU continues.
However, the appointment did not come without some hurdles. There was an exchange of statements between EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and Dominic Raab around the status of the EU ambassador to London: in a nutshell, the UK Foreign Office is refusing to grant full diplomatic status to João Vale de Almeida, EU representative to the UK, as given to representatives of individual countries. In a letter sent to Raab and seen by media, Barnier stated that the EU cannot be treated solely as an international organisation, urging the UK to move forward with this appointment.
Good news for England: carmaker Nissan continues its activity
In an interview with the BBC, Nissan’s chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta stated that the Japanese automaker, which is also the largest automaker in the UK, will continue producing cars in Sunderland, a port city in England. Nissan argued their decision was based on the certainty brought by the EU-UK trade deal after Brexit.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng welcomed this news, labelling it as a “Belief in Britain” at times when numbers were showing that UK car investment has fallen significantly since the UK announced its leave from the EU. At the same time, industry voices are sending a clear message to the British government highlighting the fact that the government must invest more time and resources in the cars industry. This is mainly due to the new technological revolution, with cars going electric in the future.
No more shopping? British consumers complain on unexpectedly high post-Brexit charges
British shoppers have complained for being asked to pay up to one-third extra in customs duties, VAT and additional delivery charges once products are delivered to the UK, The Independent reports.
For the fear of additional charges, costumers from both sides of the canal are considering avoiding importing goods from the EU and vice versa. When asked about this issue, Environment minister George Eustice stated that once businesses adapt to the new requirements (aka paying more money on imports) this should be “fine”.
Disruptions at the Northern Ireland border continue
The UK’s major supermarkets have warned the Government that “urgent intervention” is necessary to prevent further disruption to Northern Irish food supplies. The warning comes amid shortages of some products in Northern Ireland (NI) as retailers become accustomed with post-Brexit arrangements for importing food products from Great Britain. The Chief Executives of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Iceland, Co-Op and Marks & Spencer have written to Cabinet Office Minister Gove. The joint letter from industry leaders describes the severity of situation, saying that if further new certification requirements are introduced in April the system will become “unworkable”. Currently, supermarkets are operating in a three-month grace period which means they do not need to comply with all the EU’s usual certification requirements. The disruptions have come in spite of being in a period of reduced regulation which means a long-term solution is needed or the problems will be exacerbated at the end of the three-month period.
The Cabinet Office announced about the soon to be published new measures to ease problems with mixed loads of food products moving from GB to NI.
DutchNews: British meat traders to have correct animal health reports
The Dutch authorities have warned British meat importers to ensure that they have all the papers such as health certificates in order before goods can enter the EU. According to Dutch requirements, the importers have 90 days to solve any paper issue before the product is sent back to their home country or destroyed.
On 27th January, the British Meat Industry announced that it will hold a webinar for their members which will include information about UK and EU requirements on fulfilling responsibilities for certification, IT systems, customs and transit processes and the border procedures across the supply chain from GB to EU ports. It will also outline the consequences / costs of failing to comply with the formalities to import goods into the EU.
The Dutch authorities have also announced that from 19th January all hauliers and van drivers travelling by ferry from the UK to Dutch ports must have a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure.
The Whitehouse team are experts in the potential impact of Brexit, providing political consultancy and public affairs advice to a wide range of clients across the Member States of the European Union and the United Kingdom. More information about our Brexit experience can be found here, or, if you have any questions, please contact our Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at email@example.com