The UK government published a flurry of Brexit position papers in August, including papers on continuity in availability of goods and confidentiality, and access to documents; the exchange and protection of personal data; cross-border civil judicial cooperation; and enforcement and dispute resolution.
UK government Brexit position papers
The UK government published several post-Brexit position papers in August.
The position paper on continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK deals with the circulation of goods placed on the single market before exit and calls for the avoidance of duplication of compliance activities undertaken before exit.
A second position paper on confidentiality and access to documents outlines the UK position on confidentiality and access to documents relating to information obtained by the UK and the EU while the UK was a member state.
The UK government wants to explore a unique and ambitious UK-EU model for exchanging and protecting personal data post-Brexit that builds on the existing adequacy model. This will provide for continued regulatory co-operation between the UK and EU data protection regulators and promote certainty for businesses, public authorities and citizens in the UK and EU.
This position paper looks at cross-border judicial cooperation in civil and family matters following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It also outlines the UK’s response to the European Commission’s position paper on judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters.
Observing that the UK will no longer fall under the “direct” jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union, this position paper explains the need to reach agreement on how the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and the “new, deep and special partnership” with the EU will be monitored and implemented, and how disputes will be resolved.
The UK government has proposed two alternative options for its future customs arrangements in relation to trade with the EU. Both options take the UK outside the EU customs union and, therefore, allow the UK to develop its own trade policy and enter into preferential trade agreements with other countries.
The first option is based on the UK and EU trading with each other as third countries but with efficient customs processes. The second option envisages an “innovative approach” involving the UK aligning its import regime with the EU’s external customs border, for goods that will be consumed in the EU market.
This position paper outlines the UK’s position on how to address the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and Ireland in light of the UK’s withdrawal from, and new partnership with, the EU. It sets out the UK’s proposals in the following four areas:
- Upholding the Good Friday Agreement.
- Maintaining the Common Travel Area and associated rights.
- Avoiding a hard border for the movement of goods.
- Aiming to preserve north-south and east-west co-operation, including on energy.
Third round of Brexit negotiations
The third round of Article 50 negotiations between the UK and the EU came to a close on 31 August. The closing remarks of David Davis and Michel Barnier indicated that during this latest round there was:
- Little or no progress on the financial settlement.
- A high degree of convergence in the dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland on maintaining the Common Travel Area and safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement.
- Almost complete agreement on approaches to post-exit privileges and immunities, and to confidentiality requirements on shared information post-exit.
Following the third round, the Department for Exiting the European Union and the European Commission published a second joint technical note that summarises and compares the UK and EU positions on citizens’ rights.
Brexit impact on cross-border trade
Two papers published in August looked at the future of trade with the EU following Brexit:
- An Institute for Government report on the impact of Brexit on cross-border trade in goods suggests that leaving the EU will disrupt the UK’s important integrated supply-chains and will create friction in cross-border trade in goods. The report outlines five potential options for future trade and considers that, while neither option will eliminate disruption to trade, a comprehensive UK-EU free trade agreement could reduce it.
- A House of Commons Library paper considers the importance of trade with the EU for the different sectors and industries of the UK economy. It notes that non-tariff technical barriers to trade (such as differing labelling, packaging and safety standards) could be an important barrier to trade for sectors and industries that are heavily exposed to the EU’s single market.
Consultation on EEA workers in the UK labour market
At the beginning of August, the Migration Advisory Committee launched a call for evidence on the economic and social impacts of Brexit and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with modern industrial strategy. Evidence must be submitted by 27 October 2017.
Possible transitional arrangements for Brexit
On 4 August, the Institute of Directors published a report suggesting a range of options for business-friendly transitional arrangements as the UK leaves the EU, outlining practical details and potential trade-offs between them.