Hit enter to search or ESC to close

Brexit Update: 7th February 2020

07 February 2020

Cian Hassett, Global Graduate London, Bord Bia - The Irish Food Board




Ibec Trade Policy Trends Webinar – What’s in Store for Irish Business in 2020?

Ibec held a webinar last week in light of the UK’s exit from the EU and how this may affect trade policies in the future. They discussed in detail the trade priorities for the EU commission including:




  • The EU mandate for negotiations should begin in March.


  • June is the deadline for the UK decision to extend the transition period.


  • In June or July we will have a good idea on when the negotiations will end.


  • Withdrawal issues, the protocol on Ireland and NI and EU – UK future relations are top of the negotiating agenda.

 When asked about whether the UK’s stance on regulatory alignment might soften, they mentioned that they would not seek alignment with the EU, preferring instead to look for a free trade agreement. The UK would be looking for a standard FTA similar to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada.



‘Get ready for Brexit’ campaign proves ineffective according to UK’s official spending watchdog.

The UK government budgeted a total of £100 million for a public billboard, newspaper, and social media campaign, promoting Britain's then planned exit from the European Union on October 31 2019. However, the National Audit Office (NAO) found that by the time the campaign was brought to an end, just 34% of the public were likely to seek out information about preparing for Britain's exit, which was broadly unchanged from the start of the campaign. The watchdog found that while overall the public were made aware of some things they may need to do before Brexit, the campaign could not be proved to have resulted in significantly better preparedness.


The NAO suggested that the effectives of the campaign may have been hindered by the public’s awareness that the October 31st deadline that was being promoted would once again not be kept. By the time of the campaign’s launch, the UK parliament had already repeatedly voted to delay Brexit and avoid leaving the EU without a deal. A UK government spokesperson defended the campaign


Other News

Boris Johnsons lines up cabinet reshuffle for next week.

Boris Johnson will reshape his cabinet next Thursday in a crucial moment for his new government, but a sweeping overhaul of Whitehall departments is expected to be put on hold at least until the autumn. Mr Johnson is likely to use his post-election reshuffle to heal divisions in a party scarred by Brexit and the 2019 Tory leadership contest; the first meeting of his new team will take place next Friday. But a long-touted reorganisation of Whitehall, promoted by Mr Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, is now set to be postponed due to concerns over the disruption and costs of such a move.


Sajid Javid to issue Brexit red tape challenge to public.

The Chancellor will use the Budget next month to launch his challenge and invite members of the public to propose ways in which Britain might diverge from the EU rule book. He is asking members of the public and business community to identify EU rules enshrined in British law that the government could potentially improve or remove going forward. Michael Heseltine, the former Tory business secretary has claimed the initiative is just further reflecting how ministers have been unable to decide on rules they would abolish, even though diverging from EU regulations has been a cornerstone of Boris Johnson’s plan for a new trade deal between the two sides. Government officials have said they expect the Brexit red tape challenge to be launched in Mr Javid’s budget on March 11th.


Boris Johnson ready to spurn EU trade deal over rule-setting.

On Monday the PM said he was prepared to sever links with the EU without a trade deal if Brussels insisted on tying the UK closely to its standards, in spite of the government’s own estimates that it could inflict long-term damage on the economy. Mr Johnsons insisted that Britain would be looking for a Canada-style trade deal by removing tariffs and quotas on trade with the EU, but reiterated that the UK could potentially prosper hugely even if a free trade agreement was not in place by the end of the transition period. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier said that the UK’s answer would be fundamental to the level of ambition of their future relationship with the EU, and that it was up to the UK to decide.



Key Dates

26th February 2020: Council of EU approves negotiation mandate

11th March 2020: UK Budget released

18th-19th June 2020: UK/EU summit to discuss progress

30th June 2020: Deadline for the UK and EU to extend the transition period

31st December 2020: If a trade deal has been agreed by this date, new relationship with EU starts. Otherwise, the UK exits transition period without a trade deal.

31st December 2022: Last date to which transition period can be extended