Customs Transit Procedures (Brexit UK)

The Customs Transit Procedures (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (SI 1258) are enacted. These will come into force when separately determined by Treasury Regulations (not enacted yet, these separate Treasury regulations will be made under the (Brexit) Taxation (Cross-border) Trade Act 2018. The Regulations are here.

These Regulations make provision for the international movements of goods, with import duty suspended, under the internationally recognised common transit procedure and TIR Carnet system, with provision for such movements within the United Kingdom. They also provide for such movements of goods under arrangements for NATO forces.

When enacted, they will ensure that these customs procedures operate as before once the United Kingdom exits the European Union.

Draft Notices to be made under these Regulations are here.

Detailed following of the new Customs arrangements is beyond the scope of this Blog. HMRC continue to publish guidance and instructions. Please follow HMRC for these.

Food and Feed Technical Notices (Brexit UK)

On 19th October 2018, the Food Standards Agency issued a Brexit Technical Notice on importing high-risk food and animal feed. This notice is not in the central collection, it is here.

On 4th December 2018, the Department of Health & Social Care issued a Brexit Technical Notice on food and feed safety risk assessment and management. This notice is not in the central collection. It is here.

(1) Immediately after EU exit, food safety authorities (the FSA and Food Standards Scotland (FSS)) will be responsible for providing risk management advice and recommendations for food and feed safety to ministers. Health ministers will then take the final decisions (involving other ministers as appropriate) based on the recommendation. This advice will be published.

(2) Responsibility for taking certain technical and routine food safety risk management decisions could be delegated to food safety authorities at a point after EU exit. This would be subject to consultation.

(3) If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal in place, it is anticipated the UK would no longer have access to the EU import notification system, TRACES. This means importers to the UK from the rest of the world will no longer be able to use TRACES to notify the UK about those goods. To ensure those importing high-risk food and feed could continue to do so, a new import notification system is being developed to take the place of TRACES. More information on the new system will be published in the autumn.

(4) Anyone currently using the TRACES system to pre-notify the UK about high-risk food and feed product imports from the rest of the world will need to start using the UK’s new import notification system, ahead of March 2019.

Brexit Bill Tracker (UK)

The current state of Brexit Bills (Dec 5th 2018) is in the Institute for Government diagram depicted.

– Fisheries bill entered Committee stage yesterday

– Trade bill still missing in action in the Lords

– First bill *only* needed for no deal exit

– No sign of the Immigration bill (or white paper)

IF the UK Government loses the 11th December vote, the No Deal exit emergency legislation and instructions are published. I will post a new post then.

26 Nov 2018 Withdrawal Agreement (EU-UK Brexit/FTA)

UPDATE(2) : the UK Government published Legal Position on the Withdrawal Agreement is here.

UPDATE : the UK Parliament vote is 11th December, after five days of debate.

Following political agreement between the parties, the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (and accompanying Political Declaration) is laid before the UK Parliament – here.

I have posted before about these documents, and the next steps.

In the event that the Withdrawal Agreement (with its accompanying Political Declaration) is not agreed by the UK Parliament, a period of 21 days is set out in existing law for the UK Government to present its plan, a further 7 days is provided for the UK Parliament to consider that plan.

It is expected the UK Parliament will vote on 12th December 2018.

From the start of 2019 the UK Parliament will sit 5 days a week.

Please continue to follow this Blog.

Grants for Customs Declarations (Brexit)

The UK Government has today announced grants for companies and individuals carrying out customs declarations, the details are here.

– Up to £750 for each employee receiving training

– Up to €200,000 for new software (the maximum under EU state aid rules)

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is administering the grants for HMRC.

More information about the grants is on PwC’s website. The link to apply will be published on the government link above in early December 2018.

Ireland and the Netherlands have been offering grants for some time – here.

22 Nov 2018 Political Declaration (EU-UK Brexit/FTA)

Today (22nd Nov 2018) is published the text agreed by negotiators for the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the Future Relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This document is here, and here.

(the Declaration is in the Annex starting on the second page)

The Declaration is agreed in principle at the Political level, subject to the endorsement of Leaders. It will remain a political document, and is not a legal document per se.

The text of the Declaration states that it is made under the Art 50 process set out in the EU Treaties for a member state to exit the Union, and it accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement text I posted about recently (dated 14 Nov) that has been endorsed by the EU and the UK, subject to ratification.

Clause 1 of the Declaration states :

1. The European Union, hereafter referred to as “the Union”, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, hereafter referred to as “the United Kingdom”, (“the Parties”) have agreed this political declaration on their future relationship, on the basis that Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) provides for the negotiation of an agreement setting out the arrangements for the withdrawal of a departing Member State, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. In that context, this declaration accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement that has been endorsed by the Parties, subject to ratification.

Further steps for the Withdrawal Agreement (and its accompanying Political Declaration) are :

(1) vote in the UK and EU Parliaments

(2) ratification by Leaders individually

The Withdrawal Agreement text is not reopen for change, save as respects the Transition Period extension clause, where an end date needs to be inserted. It is understood an option for two dates may be inserted, either a further 12 months to end Dec 2021 or a further 24 months to end Dec 2022. It is expected this will occur by this Sunday.

The Withdrawal Agreement is a legal document, made under EU law, which, if ratified, is international law as respects the UK after its automatic exit at end of March 2019.

14 Nov 2018 Withdrawal Agreement (EU-UK Brexit)

I posted yesterday (Brexit Status) that Withdrawal Agreement text had been agreed between EU and UK negotiators. This text was agreed last night at a meeting of the UK Cabinet, and then published – here. Alongside the 14 Nov 2018 Withdrawal Agreement text, a starter for the Outline Political Declaration on the Future Relationship was also published, and a Joint Statement (in that link).

Alongside this, DExEU also published and Explainer and Explanatory Notes – here.

The EU also published a Fact Sheet on the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) text – here, and a Fact Sheet on the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (one of the 3 Protocols to the WA) – here.

The 14 Nov 2018 Withdrawal Agreement has 185 Articles, 3 Protocols, and a series of Annexes.

The objective of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is to put in place an orderly exit of the UK from the EU on 12 midnight CET (11pm GMT) 29 March 2019 – dealing with matters such as citizen rights, money, and a series of separation technicalities. The WA (if ratified as a Treaty) also puts in place a Transition Period (in the UK, this is termed an Implementation Phase) lasting until 31 December 2020, during which EU Law will continue to apply and trade will be unchanged.

Note :

(1) the WA text must pass through a series of gates before ratification as a Treaty. When a Treaty, it will be given effect by the EU (Withdrawal and Implementation) Bill in the UK, which itself must be created and enacted. And this new Bill will necessarily amend and rewrite parts of the already enacted EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. It is hoped, but by no means certain, these gates can be crossed by the exit date of 29 March 2019.

(2) during the transition to 31 Dec 2020, EU Law would continue to apply to and within the UK and override domestic law. But, as the UK will be a third country, this means it will have only minimal influence on the creation and enactment of EU law in that phase.

(3) a single extension for an (at present unspecified) length of time is permitted to the Transition Phase, this extension to be agreed by 1 July 2020. A firm end date will need to be negotiated by the European Council on 25th Nov (if it takes place).

(4) a specific Protocol for handling the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is the first of 3 Protocols in the 14 Nov 2018 WA text. This Protocol includes a detailed “backstop” to be used if the Future Relationship is not in place by the end of the transition period.

(5) the UK is a Third Country on exit on 29 March 2019, the transition period gives a further short period for transition to this Third Country status (relationship with the EU).

(6) the objective is to transition from the current EU member state status direct to the Future Relationship (Trade Agreement) status, via the Transition Period (which could be extended).

Further work is ongoing, and the WA text must pass a series of gates.

It is essential that Brexit Preparedness planning continues, and that the current Brexit Preparedness and Brexit Contingency EU and the UK Notices are read and understood. I have posted these. Please keep following this Blog for updates.