Customs Red Tape (Ireland)

There is a lot of chatter about the new processes required for goods movements between Ireland (north and south) and its neighbour, Britain. This blog does not focus on Customs, Tariffs or VAT.

Irish Revenue information on Imports from Britain is here. Note the requirement for an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS). The ENS is a safety and security entry summary declaration needed for moving goods on ‘roll-on, roll-off’ lorries and other goods vehicles.

An emergency code (number) was supplied initially by Irish Revenue to allow importers temporarily bypass some of the documentation rules on border controls. This is a facilitation and is temporary.

Further information is accessed from this Irish Revenue location – here.

The Irish Times reports again this morning re the rules of origin matter (Peppa Pig etc) –

Government officials have raised queries with the European Commission Commission about Brexit “rules of origin” restrictions that are disrupting supply chains of foods and other products coming from mainland Europe to Ireland.

Rules of origin are designed to prevent a UK company buying cheap products from a non-EU country and repackaging and rebranding them and then selling them into the EU tariff-free.

The restriction is, however, preventing some products moving between two EU countries where the products are repackaged in UK distribution centres before being supplied into the Irish market.

Under the EU-UK trade deal, signed before Christmas, goods that are unpacked and repacked in the UK – and not subject to further manufacturing – face customs taxes, or tariffs, when reimported back into the EU.

The rules have led to severe disruption in supply chains and food shortages and empty shelves in Irish retail outlets of UK supermarket chains, in the Republic and Northern Ireland, and delayed the shipment of other goods.

The Irish Times notes – government officials warned a fix was unlikely

Government officials have made “technical inquiries” with officials within the commission “to see what the possibilities are”, said one Government source, though they warned that finding a fix for the issue was unlikely.

“This is Brexit. The UK has left the single market and the customs union. They are a third country. That is the problem,” said the source.

“If a good comes through England, that doesn’t mean that it should come under these rules, but if they are repackaged, there is a problem. That is not transit.

“This is an issue which was unforeseen or not foreseen to the extent to which it should have been.”

My Peppa Pig blog post concerns re-distribution. But even then, EU Commission clarification would be required,

Customs Solution to ‘Percy Pig’ tariffs (Ireland)

This blog does not focus on customs, tariffs, or VAT. But this story from the Irish state broadcaster RTE, caught my eye. Here

Percy Pig are popular sweets, sold by the UK retailer Marks & Spencer widely in Ireland and Europe. They are made in Germany and imported to the UK for onward re-distribution to Ireland and Europe without further processing.

It was thought under the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement such import into the UK and re-distribution back to the EU without further manufacture or processing in the UK would attract a tariff.

But a partner in Customs and International Trade at (the accounting firm) BDO Ireland thinks she has a possible solution, which she is running by the authorities for verification. It utilises a Returned Goods Relief in existing EU customs rules.

[others may also have located Returned Goods Relief or other facilitations in the EU customs rules]

EU-UK Trade and cooperation agreement (2) (UK & EU)

I updated my post this morning with the link to the UK published legal text (1,246 pages – it’s the same text in the individual sections and chapters). Look back on the blog itself.

I also updated my post this morning (online) with the link to the EU document now loaded on a dedicated website, this also includes an EU Q&A – here.

A couple of points (identified in the Q&A) –

(1) Trading under ‘FTA’ (free trade agreement) terms from 1st Jan will differ substantively to trading in EU’s Customs Union and Single Market.

In particular:

• rules of origin will apply to goods in order to qualify for preferential trade terms under the agreement;

• all imports will be subject to customs formalities and will need to comply with the rules of the importing party;

• all imports into the EU must meet all EU standards and will be subject to regulatory checks and controls for safety, health and other public policy purposes.

(2) Traders will account not only for the origin of materials used, but also if their processing took place in the territory of one of the Parties. This is called ‘full cumulation’. Exporters will be able to self-certify the origin of the goods, and will have additional flexibility in collecting documentary evidence to prove origin during the first year.

(3) The Parties will recognise each other’s ‘Authorised Economic Operators’ programmes, enabling trusted traders with this status to use certain simplifications and/or facilitations relating to security and safety in their customs operations with the customs authorities of the other Party. But there is no waiver on security and safety declarations, as this requires alignment between the Parties on security standards.

(4) From 1st Jan, the EU and the UK will be two separate regulatory and legal spaces. This means that all products exported from the EU to the UK will need to comply with UK technical regulations and will be subject to any applicable regulatory compliance checks and controls. Similarly, all products imported from the UK to the EU will need to comply with EU technical regulations and will be subject to all applicable regulatory compliance obligations, checks and controls for safety, health and other public policy purposes.

(5) Both Parties agreed on a definition of international standards that identifies the relevant international standard-setting bodies. This is intended to ensure that both sides’ domestic product standards and technical regulations are based on the same international references and are therefore compatible to the extent possible.

(6) In the field of conformity assessment, the Parties agreed to maintain simplified access to each other’s markets through, in particular, the continued use of self-certification of conformity by the manufacturer where this is currently applied in both the EU and the UK. This covers a very large share of bilateral trade.

(7) Re Automotive Products – the Parties agreed that regulatory convergence will be based on the use of the international technical standards set at UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) level. Both Parties will accept, in their respective markets, products that are covered by a valid UN type-approval certificate.

(8) Re Medicinal Products – the Parties agreed to recognise the results of inspections carried out by the authorities of the other Party in manufacturing facilities located in the territory of the issuing authority. This will avoid unnecessary duplication of inspections of manufacturers of medicinal products to assess their compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice requirements.

(9) Re Chemicals – the Parties agreed to cooperate, while respecting each Party’s right to regulate, both bilaterally and in relevant international fora, on the assessment of hazards and risks of chemicals and the formats for documenting the results of such assessment. The Parties already implement the UN GHS and this will continue. The Parties agreed to use transparent procedures for the classification of substances and possibly to exchange non-confidential information.

(10) Re Organic Products – the Parties agreed reciprocal recognition of equivalence of the current EU and UK organic legislation and control system, for all categories of organic products. Organic products complying with EU law and certified by control bodies recognised by the EU will be accepted on the UK market and vice-versa. In view of new EU rules for organic products applying as of 1.1.2022, equivalence will be reassessed by end-2023.

(11) Re SPS – there will be no changes to EU food safety standards. UK agri-food exporters will need to meet all EU SPS import requirements and be subject to official controls carried out by Member States’ authorities at Border Control Posts. Where required, these controls will include the verification of health certificates in line with international standards. Similarly, EU agri-food exporters will need to meet all UK SPS import requirements.

The Agreement allows for either party to unilaterally decide to reduce the frequency of certain types of border import controls, taking into account the extent to which their SPS rules converge.

It also ensures a simplified process for the approval of imports, where relevant by drawing up lists of establishments that are eligible to export to the other party, based on guarantees provided by the authorities of the exporting Party.

(12) Re Northern Ireland – the EU acquis, including the Union Customs Code, legislation on goods, sanitary rules for veterinary controls (“SPS rules”), rules on agricultural production/marketing, or VAT and excise in respect of goods, will apply to all goods entering Nortern Ireland.

As a result, from 1 January, goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain will constitute “imports”.  This means that such goods will need to comply with EU product rules and be subject to checks and controls for safety, health and other public policy purposes, including all necessary SPS controls applicable between the EU and the UK.

An agreement in principle (under the separate Withdrawal Agreement) has been found in the following areas, amongst others: export declarations, the supply of medicines, the supply of certain chilled meats and other food products to supermarkets, and a clarification on the application of State aid under the terms of the Protocol. There are some facilitations –

For example, certain chilled meat, for which imports in the Union market are normally prohibited, will be accepted for delivery to supermarkets in Northern Ireland during a limited period of 6 months:

• Minced meat of poultry, frozen or chilled. Chilled minced meat from animals other than poultry (e.g. minced beef.

• Chilled meat preparations (e.g. sausages, meatballs, pork pies)..

• Any fresh meat, including minced meat and meat preparations, produced from triangular trade (e.g. EU meat exported to Great Britain, cut or minced in Great Britain and re-exported to Northern Ireland).

Another example is that, during a limited period of 3 months, the goods coming from Great Britain and destined for supermarkets located in Northern Ireland will be accompanied with a simplified, collective certificate covering all the goods transported in the same truck, instead of individual certificates.

During this period of time, the UK shall maintain its current EU SPS legislation for the products concerned.

The scope is limited to a restricted number of food suppliers for supermarkets which are approved by the UK authorities after demonstrating that they meet a range of trust criteria. This list of members will be established by the United Kingdom in cooperation with the European Commission before 31 December 2020 and cannot be extended after that date.

(13) Re Business Persons Mobility – the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes (often refered to as ‘mode 4‘), the EU and the UK have agreed on a broad range of reciprocal commitments facilitating the ability of companies located in a Party to transfer certain employees, as intra-corporate transferees, to work in an associated company located in the other Party. As intra-corporate transferees constitute temporary migration, the maximum duration of such transfers is capped at three years. With respect to UK nationals transferred to the EU, this duration includes periods of mobility between Member States. This is in line with current EU practice with other third countries.

The EU-UK Agreement also facilitates the movement of “contractual service suppliers” or “independent professionals” to supply services under certain conditions. Business visitors not providing services will also be allowed short-term entry in order to carry out certain activities.

(14) Re Legal Services – the EU and its Member States, and the UK will allow lawyers from the other Party to provide legal services relating specifically to the practice of international law and the law of the country where they are authorised under their “home” title.

However, it should be noted that EU law is not considered to be international law, but instead the law of the Member State in which EU lawyers are established or hold their “home title”.

(15) Re Energy – the UK will leave the EU’s internal energy market on 1st Jan, Northern Ireland will maintain the Single Electricity Market with Ireland (Republic of Ireland) (under the separate Withdrawal Agreement). The EU and the UK have agreed to establish a new framework for their future cooperation in the energy field. The UK Energy (Electricity) Guidance was updated on Dec 24th (see the Brexit Guidance List on Cardinal Environment Registers & Checklists).

The UK also leaves the EU ETS (see the Brexit Guidance List) and Euratom.

The UK will define its own climate change targets and policies and the UK committed to implementing a system of carbon pricing as of 1 January 2021. The Parties agreed a framework for cooperation in the fight against climate change, and their ambition to achieve economy-wide climate neutrality by 2050. The Parties will give serious consideration to linking their respective carbon pricing systems in a way that preserves the integrity of these systems and provides for the possibility to increase their effectiveness, for instance by adding further sectors, such as buildings. This would be subject to an agreement to be negotiated separately in the future.

There are also agreed provisions for cooperation in the development of offshore energy, with a focus on the North Sea.

(16) Re Euratom – the Agreement contains a separate agreement between Euratom and the UK on the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

This Agreement enables:

• the supply and transfer of nuclear material, non-nuclear material, technology and equipment;

• trade and commercial cooperation relating to the nuclear fuel cycle;

• cooperation in the safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste;

• nuclear safety and radiation protection;

• use of radioisotopes and radiation in agriculture, industry and medicine;

• geological and geophysical exploration;

• development, production, further processing and use of uranium resources.

(17) Re Rebalancing (Level Playing Field, includes OHS and ENV Standards) – the Agreement provides the possibility to apply unilateral rebalancing measures in the case of significant divergences in the areas of labour and social, environment or climate protection, or of subsidy control, where such divergences materially impact trade or investment between the Parties.

This might be relevant, for example in a situation where one Party would significantly increase its levels of protection related to labour or social standards, the environment or climate above the levels of the other Party. This may entail an increase in the costs of production and hence a competitive disadvantage.

Another example would be a situation where one Party would have a system of subsidy control that would systemically fail to prevent the adoption of trade distorting subsidies, which would provide a competitive advantage for that Party.

In such cases, a Party would be able to adopt measures to rebalance the competitive advantage of the other Party.

Each Party could also, at regular intervals and if rebalancing measures have been taken frequently or for more than 12 months, seek a review of the trade and other economic parts of the Agreeent to ensure an appropriate balance between the commitments in the Agreement on a durable basis. In this case, the Parties could negotiate and amend relevant parts of the Agreement. Any trade or economic part of the Agreement, including aviation, that would remain in place or be renegotiated would retain appropriate level playing field commitments.

(18) Re OHS and ENV – the EU and the UK agreed to uphold levels of protection in the areas reated to labour and social standards, and environment and climate.

Labour and social levels of protection cover the following areas:

• fundamental rights at work;

• occupational health and safety standards;

• fair working conditions and employment standards;

• information and consultation rights at company level; or

• restructuring of undertakings.

Environmental levels of protection include the following areas:

• industrial emissions;

• air emissions and air quality;

• nature and biodiversity conservation;

• waste management;

• the protection and preservation of the aquatic environment;

• the protection and preservation of the marine environment;

• the prevention, reduction and elimination of risks to human health or the environment arising from the production, use, release or disposal of chemical substances; or

• the management of impacts on the environment from agricultural or food production, notably through the use of antibiotics and decontaminants.

The climate level of protection applies to:

• emissions and removals of greenhouse gases covering EU’s and the UK’s respective 2030 economy-wide targets including their systems of carbon pricing; and

• the phasing-out of ozone depleting substances.

(19) Re Further OHS and ENV Provisions – the Agreement contains several guarantees in terms of environmental protection, over and above the non-regression provisions applying to environment, climate and labour and social protection. These include:

• A recognition of the shared biosphere;

• Coverage of future targets that are now in the laws of the parties – the 2030 waste recycling targets, the 2027 water targets and the 2030 air pollution ceilings;

• Full inclusion of the key environment principles, including precautionary principle, polluter pays, and integration principle;

• Full inclusion of the principles of the Aarhus Convention with modernised text, including access to justice, access to information and public participation;

• Effective co-operation mechanism foreseen between the supervisory body or bodies in the UK in terms of protection of the environment, and the Commission;

• The recognition of the relevance of procedures for evaluating the likely impact of a proposed activity on the environment, such as an environmental impact assessment or a strategic environmental assessment.

(20) Re Health/Sanitary Quality in Agri/Foods – the broad scope of the commitment on the environment refers to agricultural and food production. In addition, it specifies two important areas for the level playing field with regards to agriculture and food production, namely the use of antibiotics and decontaminants.

(21) Re Aviation – UK carriers will be able to fly across the territory of the EU without landing; make technical stops in the territory of the EU for non-traffic purposes; and carry passengers and/or cargo on any routes between a given point in the UK and a point in the EU. Also, the Agreement will permit Member States and the UK to bilaterally exchange onward travel (termed 5th freedom) rights for extra-EU all-cargo operations only (e.g. Paris-London-New York).

The Agreement defines new arrangements for the recognition of future design and environmental certificates, as well as for production organisation oversight. Existing design certificates issued under EU rules before 1 Jan will remain valid.

(22) Re Road Transport – the Agreement provides for quota-free point-to-point access for operators transporting goods by road between the EU and the UK. This means UK lorries would be able to reach the EU and return from the EU, including when not loaded. The same rights are conferred to EU hauliers travelling from any point in the EU to the UK, and back from the UK to anywhere in the UK.

UK and EU trucks will also be able to perform up to two additional operations in the other party’s territory, once they have crossed the border.

This will allow EU hauliers that carry a load to the UK to perform two cabotage operations in the UK, thus limiting the risk of having to travel back to the EU without a load. 

For UK hauliers, these additional operations can be composed of two cross-trade operations (i.e. transport operations between two Member States) or one cross-trade and one “cabotage” operation (i.e. a transport operation within two points of a single Member State). Special provisions are made in the case of Ireland, as Northern Irish hauliers will be able to perform two cabotage operations in Ireland.

ECMT holders will be able to do 3 cabotage operations.

EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement (UK & EU)

UPDATE (2) : the legal text is also published on the EU website – here. Note the Q&A here.

UPDATE : the legal text is also published by the UK (1,246 pages) – note the page numbering is slightly different to the EU 1,256 pages (corrected to 1,236 pages) document – here.

The legal text is now circulating – it is here (1,256 pages, corrected to 1,246 pages)

Marked Page 202 has the start of the chapter on Labour and social standards

Marked Page 203 has the start of the chapter on Environment and climate

Marked Page 206 has the start of the chapter on Other instruments for trade and sustainable development

Marked Page 214 has the start of the chapter on Horizontal and institutional provisions (this chapter deals with the Panels of Experts, and rebalancing)

Note (marked Page 216) : The Trade Specialised Committee on Level Playing Field for Open and Fair Competition and Sustainable Development shall monitor the follow-up to the report of the panel of experts. The domestic advisory groups of the Parties established under Article INST.7 [Domestic advisory groups] may submit observations to the Trade Specialised Committee on Level Playing Field for Open and Fair Competition and Sustainable Development in that regard.

The above chapters do NOT appear in the Table of Contents, they are located within Title XI (this starts on marked Page 181 of the Heading One on Trade (of Part Two).

Please read the chapters identified above.

The text envisages the UK creates its own legal acquis, and that this will be separate from the EU acquis.

Impact for Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists

GB Registers & Checklists Systems (Britain, Britain Offshore, England, Wales, Scotland) – these will be reordered,

* EU Law (applying in EU27 and EEA) will be relocated beneath Regulatory Guidance

* International Law (the UK has ratified) will be supplied first

* Retained EU Law (legal text with Brexit corrections) will be supplied next (find this Law in Brexit Consolidated Law List already supplied on systems – the coloured project list ongoing since July 2019)

* Domestic Law (legal text with Brexit corrections – the Brexit Consolidated Law List)

ENV will be first, the Brexit Consolidated Law project is finished for most ENV – we expect to hit close to 1st Jan for the new Registers & Checklists.

OHS will be supplied after Q1 of 2021 – in the meantime, the Transition Period System will display AND the Brexit Consolidated Law List AND the Brexit Guidance List.

Find the practical instructions in the rewritten Summaries and Law Checklists which will link to the Brexit Guidance List.

Northern Ireland Registers & Checklists – these will NOT be reordered, they WILL contain Brexit amended domestic law (Brexit Consolidated Law List)

Republic of Ireland Registers & Checklists – unchanged

EU27 Registers & Checklists – unchanged

Norway Registers & Checklists – unchanged

Transporting Goods from GB to EU (UK)

The lengthy instruction sheet (guidance for hauliers and commercial drivers) first issued by UK bodies and ministries on 18 November, is updated with aspects of the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement. Note I just blog posted re the easement in road transport trips and the agreed cabotage arrangements provided for in the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement. We are still awaiting the actual legal text of the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement.

The lengthy instruction sheet for hauliers and commercial drivers is here.

As I said in the earlier blog post of this morning –

From 1 January 2021, UK operators will be able to undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the EU. Up to 2 additional movements (cross-trade or cabotage) may be undertaken within the EU following a laden journey from the UK, with a maximum of 1 cabotage movement with a 7-day period.

Both additional movements may be cabotage movements in Ireland for Northern Ireland operators provided they follow a journey from Northern Ireland, and are performed within a 7-day period.

Please refer to my earlier blog post for the updated info on the UK Licence for the Community – this long instruction sheet has not been updated.

UK Licences for the Community can be used in the 27 EU countries and 4 other countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Information on UK Licences for the Community is here.

Please remember (it’s not in this long hauliers instruction sheet) where goods are packaged with wood, the wood must be stamped compliant with ISPM15, and can be stopped at the EU border if not – further details are here.

There is a shortage in the UK of ISPM15 compliant wood packaging. Please check this for yourself.

Note the differences applying in Northern Ireland.

International Road Haulage in EU (UK)

The Arrangements for Road Haulage carried out by UK drivers and organisations (goods vehicle operators) in the EU are altered by the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement. The UK updated its Brexit Guidance. As I said in the earlier blog post of this morning, we will update the Brexit Guidance List on Cardinal Environment systems today (Christmas Day) – please check later today or tomorrow.

A goods vehicle operator will be able to make unlimited journeys to, from and through the EU.

The UK Licence for the Community will replace the EU Community Licence from 1 January 2021. The goods vehicle operator will automatically be sent a replacement UK Licence for the Community by 31 December 2020 if an EU Community Licence is held.

Drivers need to carry a copy of the UK Licence for the Community when working in the EU.

Drivers can make up to 2 additional movements (cross-trade or cabotage) within the EU following a laden journey from the UK with a maximum of one cabotage movement within a 7-day period.

A third cross-trade movement (moving goods between 2 countries outside the UK) can be made using a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit from 1 January 2021, subject to demand.

Applications closed for annual ECMT permits on Friday 20 November 2020. This link provides details for short term ECMT permits – here.

Both additional movements may be cabotage movements in Ireland for Northern Ireland operators, provided they follow a journey from Northern Ireland, and are performed within a 7-day period.

Further details on Road Haulage in the EU are here (this includes announcements made earlier)

Placing Manufactured Goods on EU market (UK)

The UK is churning out updated Brexit Guidance, we will be updating today (Christmas Day) the Brexit Guidance List on Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists – please look later today or tomorrow morning.

Re CE marked manufactured goods – the instructions confirm – From 1 January 2021 any mandatory conformity assessment will need to be carried out by an EU-recognised conformity assessment body. This includes both EU based bodies and bodies in countries with which the EU has concluded a mutual recognition agreement (this is not the UK).

UK conformity assessment bodies will no longer be able to carry out mandatory conformity assessment for products being placed on the EU market.

The legal text for the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement is not yet published, documents issued so far by the EU and the UK indicate only medicinal products are covered by mutual recognition. Medicinal products are not CE marked goods.

If you have an EU based distributor they will become an ‘importer’ from 1 January 2021.

They will need to make sure:

• goods are labelled with their address and either your details or your EU, EEA or Norther Ireland-based authorised representative’s details (including your company’s name and a contact address or registered trademark)

• the correct conformity assessment procedures have been carried out and that goods have the correct conformity markings

• you, as the manufacturer, have drawn up the correct technical documentation and complied with the labelling requirements

• they maintain a copy of the declaration of conformity for a period of 10 years

• goods conform with the relevant essential requirements.

Details are here.

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (2) (EU & UK)

We await the legal text. In the meantime, the UK has published a 34 page summary explainer – here.

A couple of things to notice –

Part 2 Heading 1

(1) a specific Annex on medicinal products (page 9) – This Annex aims to facilitate availability of medicines, promote public health and protect high levels of consumer and environmental protection in respect of medicinal products. It provides for mutual recognition of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspections and certificates, meaning that manufacturing facilities do not need to undergo separate UK and EU inspections, as well as ongoing co-operation.

(2) a specific Annex on chemicals (page 9) – The Annex seeks to facilitate trade in chemicals, ensure high levels of environmental and health protection and provides for cooperation between authorities. It includes joint commitments to comprehensive implementation of international classification and labelling rules as well as commitments to ongoing cooperation and information exchange.

(3) unsurprisingly, the agreement has a chapter on SPS (pages 9 and 10 summarise) – The Chapter includes bespoke arrangements for the UK and the EU to hold regular, joint reviews of their respective SPS border controls. The aim of these reviews is to see if each Party can further facilitate trade without compromising biosecurity.

(4) Title II Chapter 4 sets out commitments for business mobility – for example (page 12) – The Parties have also agreed commitments on length of stay that broadly reflect the outcome reached in the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. This includes the ability for UK short-term business visitors to travel to the EU for 90 days in any 180-day month period. The Parties have also agreed not to impose work permits on business visitors for establishment purposes.

(5) Title II Chapter 5 Regulatory Framework – Section 2 (page 13) – The UK and the EU have agreed a framework for the recognition of qualifications between the Parties which is based on the EU’s recent FTA agreements. It makes improvements on those agreements, which are designed to make the system more flexible and easier for regulatory authorities to use.

This approach will allow the UK and its regulators to maintain standards of professional competence. From early 2021, the government will provide help and guidance to UK regulatory authorities and professional bodies to help them benefit from these provisions as well as other recognition paths.

The Agreement clarifies that the provisions on professional qualifications are without prejudice to alternative arrangements that the UK may agree with the EU, allowing for improved mechanisms to be agreed in future. Agreements will be negotiated on a profession-by-profession basis.

Note – the EU has made it clear they rejected mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

(6) Title II Chapter 5 – Section 7 Legal Services (page 14) – The Agreement includes ground-breaking provisions on legal services that go beyond what the EU has included in any other FTA to date. These measures will improve the clarity and certainty of market access for UK lawyers. The Agreement will give UK solicitors, barristers and advocates the right to advise their clients across the EU on UK and public international law using their home professional titles, except where EU Member States have placed specific limits on this activity.

(7) Title XI Chapter 6 Labour and social standards (page 19) – The Agreement includes reciprocal commitments not to reduce the level of protection for workers or fail to enforce employment rights in a manner that has an effect on trade. This is very much in line with similar “non-regression” clauses in other FTAs and with international norms. The provisions are clear that both Parties have the freedom and ability to make their own decisions on how they regulate – meaning that retained EU law will not have a special place on the UK’s statute books. This Chapter is not subject to the Agreement’s main dispute resolution mechanism but will instead be governed by a bespoke Panel of Experts procedure.

(8) Title XI Chapter 7 Environment and Climate (pages 19 and 20) – In a similar way, the Agreement includes reciprocal commitments not to reduce the level of environmental or climate protection or fail to enforce its laws in a manner that has an effect on trade. This includes reciprocal commitments to cross-economy greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The Agreement gives both Parties the freedom to set their own climate and environmental policies in the way most appropriate to achieve our world- leading domestic aims. The domestic supervisory bodies of the UK and EU will cooperate to ensure effective enforcement of their respective environmental and climate laws. Once again, this chapter is not subject to the Agreement’s main dispute resolution mechanism but will instead be governed by a bespoke Panel of Experts procedure.

The Agreement makes clear both parties will have their own effective systems of carbon pricing in place to help fulfil our respective climate goals. The Parties have agreed to cooperate on carbon pricing in future and consider linking their respective systems, although they are not under any obligation to do so.

Part 2 Heading Three Road Transport

(9) Title I (page 22) – The Agreement also sets out the standards to which operators must adhere when undertaking international journeys between the UK and the EU. These standards only apply to international journeys and do not affect the UK’s ability to regulate the domestic market. These standards for the international carriage of goods broadly reflect the standards to which UK operators are already subject when operating internationally, with some bespoke standards aimed at ensuring greater road safety and effective regulation. These standards include restrictions on driver hours, requirements about professional qualifications and tachographs and vehicle weight and dimension limits. There is a tailored mechanism to manage differences in national regulations in these areas in the unlikely event that they emerge. The ultimate safeguard in the case of real difficulties is that either side may terminate this Heading.

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (EU & UK)

The EU has begun publishing documents – here. (scroll down)

A couple of items from the EU overview –

(1) Common definition of international standards and possibility to self-declare conformity of low-risk products make it easier for producers to cater to both markets.

(2) Specific facilitation arrangements for wine, organics, automotive, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

(3) Service suppliers or investors from the EU are treated no less favourably than UK operators in the UK, and vice-versa.

(4) Facilitations for short-term business trips and temporary secondments of highly-skilled employees.

(5) Offshore energy cooperation in the North Sea.

(6) Enforceable commitments towards the Paris Climate Agreement and non-regression on climate change and carbon pricing, with possibility of linking EU and UK carbon pricing regimes.

(7) Unlimited point-to-point access for hauliers carrying loads between the EU and the UK + full transit rights across each other’s territories.

(8) Provisions on working conditions, road safety and fair competition, on top of horizontal level playing eld clauses on environment, social issues and competition.

(9) UK participates in 5 EU programmes open to third-country participation (subject to its nancial contribution), namely:

• Horizon Europe (research and innovation)

• Euratom Research and Training programme

• ITER (fusion test facility)

• Copernicus (Earth monitoring system)

• Access to EU satellite surveillance & tracking (SST) services