Jonathan English, Global Graduate, Strategic Projects, Bord Bia - The Irish Food Board
A UK Free Trade Agreement?
EU commissioner Phil Hogan has said British consumers will expect the UK to sign up to the EU’s labour, environmental and food standards as part of a free trade agreement (FTA) for which he will be chief negotiator next year. Speaking to RTÉ, Mr Hogan stated that "The British public will demand and expect that their government will sign on to EU standards because we have the highest standards in the world." He believes that there is political good will on both EU and UK sides and that the groundwork for an FTA can see negotiations completed by the end of March 2020. This would mean that the UK would have to sign up to the level playing field provisions that were outlined under the current Withdrawal Agreement from the 17th of October.
Business Confidence – Uncertainty continues
As the UK is preparing for a general election on the 12th of December, the UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has released the findings from their Q3 Business Confidence report. The findings suggested that access to workers is a consistent concern for members indicating that 42% expect the UK's permanent labour supply to decline over 2019, and almost 90% predict a fall in temporary labour supply. Additionally, their members also spent a considerable amount on Brexit. 56% said they have spent up to £100k, while more than a quarter have spent over £100,000. Some respondents reported spending of up to £3 million on no-deal Brexit preparations.
In a recent poll, FDF also found that their members view Brexit, customs and tariffs as a top issue for their businesses for the second year running.
Bord Bia is aware of the implications customs and tariff formalities will bring to our clients. In response, we run a Customs Readiness Training programme. The next training will be in Thurles on the 21st of January and 5th of February 2020 as demand in the area of customs and tariffs is something our clients want to upskill in. You can register for the next Customs Readiness Training here. Our Brexit Barometer Action Plan is also a useful guide that can be downloaded on our Brexit Hub. It outlines the practical steps for companies to prepare their business in the areas of customs and tariffs, supply chain, financial resilience, customer relationships and market diversification.
14 November: UK General Election: Deadline for candidates to announce candidacy
W/c 18 November: UK General Election: Likely week for party manifesto launches
19 November: UK General Election: Johnson-Corbyn debate on ITV
W/c 25 November: UK General Election: Voter registration deadline
26 November: UK General Election: Deadline to register for postal vote
28 November: UK General Election: Johnson – Swinson – Corbyn debate on Sky News
1 December: New Commission takes over – UK to nominate commissioner)
1 December: New President of European Council
12 December: UK General Election: Polling Day
13 December: Results announced of UK General Election
W/c 18 December: UK Parliament opens (first day of sitting still TBC but Monday likely)
31 January 2020: Current legal date for UK to leave the EU
June 2020: EU agrees MFF 2021-2027
December 2020: End of transition (implementation) period [contingent on a Withdrawal Agreement being in place]