EU-UK trade talks break up early over 'serious' disagreements. The latest negotiations in Brussels on an EU-UK trade and security deal have broken up early, with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, complaining of a lack of respect and engagement by the British government. The two sides ended the week’s talks – the first held in person since February – a day ahead of the jointly agreed schedule amid evident frustration at the lack of progress in bridging what both Barnier and his UK counterpart, David Frost, described as “serious” disagreements.
Barnier said Brussels had “listened carefully” to Boris Johnson when he had told the EU’s institutional leaders two weeks ago during a videoconference he wanted “political agreement” over the summer on the terms of a deal. He added that the EU recognised the British red lines of “no role for the European court of justice in the UK; no obligation for the UK to continue to be bound by EU law; and an agreement on fisheries that shows Brexit makes a real difference”.
The talks in Brussels, joined by smaller teams than in the past due to social distancing requirements, had been scheduled to continue through Thursday afternoon and into Friday with a final wrap up meeting between Frost and Barnier. But the two sides issued statements early on Thursday afternoon calling an end to the talks, as British officials led by Frost returned to London.
First details emerge of system for checks on goods crossing Irish Sea. The first details of the Brexit checks Boris Johnson previously insisted would not apply to trade across the Irish Sea have emerged, with mandatory paperwork for businesses in Great Britain supplying goods to Northern Ireland from January. The Guardian reported on a sensitive document they had seen from HM Revenue & Customs which reveals that businesses in Great Britain will be required to complete three rounds of customs, security and transit forms on all goods. The electronic documents will need to be completed whether there is a Brexit trade deal or not and will apply to all suppliers.
Under a new “Goods Vehicle Movement Service” (GVMS) system, hauliers or the owners of the freight will be obliged to pre-lodge three types of electronic paperwork before getting on a ferry from British ports such as Liverpool or Cairnryan in Scotland to Northern Ireland.
The first paperwork applying to suppliers is an import declaration form setting out the customs code or codes for all the goods being transported to Northern Ireland. Second, the supplier will have to complete a safety and security declaration, paperwork that is currently waived on all goods being sold within the EU’s singlemarket. Suppliers will then have to provide their truckers with a transit accompanying document (TAD) which must remain with the vehicle at all times so the EU can be guaranteed that the load that departs Great Britain is the same as the one arrives.
While the goods going from GB to Northern Ireland remain in the UK market, they are being treated as exports and require this paperwork because of the unique arrangements made in the withdrawal agreement to avoid a border on the island of Ireland.
In the FDF’s weekly Brexit update, they confirmed that new GB border arrangements have been set out for next year. Thesewill be introduced in three phases from January to July. These arrangements are aimed at GB/EU trade and does not apply to the flow of trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and GB. The arrangements will not apply to third countries outside of the EU. Full import controls will continue to apply on trade between the UK and third countries outside of the EU and EEA. Full details of these phases can be found here
- From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods will need to prepare for basic customs requirements and will have up to six months to submit customs declarations to HMRC. All traders importing live animals and high-risk plants and plant products will be required to have pre-notification and health documentation from the outset. Imports of high-risk animal by-products (ABP) will also need pre-notification.
- From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.
- From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.
The UK Government will continue to work closely with the border industry on these new procedures as well as other sector priorities. A border operating model will be published in July 2020.