Brexit: Will this be the final week of negotiations?


We are now 45 days from Brexit. Will this be the final week of negotiations for Brexit?

Chief Brexit Negotiator for the United Kingdom David Frost is in Brussels again for another round of talks. He tweeted yesterday:

2/4 We are working to get a deal, but the only one that's possible is one that is compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our laws, our trade, and our waters. That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it.

— David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) November 15, 2020

These are the main points that stand between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson Toughest on Brexit Terms

Of all the members of the British Government, Boris Johnson is the hardest in the room when it comes to Brexit.

The Guardian reports:

Boris Johnson remains the “hardest in the room” in his unwillingness to budge to secure a Brexit deal, government insiders said this weekend, amid warnings that just days remain to finalise an agreement.

Another insider said they were “still hopeful of a deal”, but there was a willingness among cabinet ministers to back the prime minister should he decide on a no-deal outcome.

“To be frank, this is one issue where the cabinet is completely united – like no other policy,” said a person familiar with the deliberations. “[After the election], the prime minister has a lot of political capital on this.”

Read the full story here.

Progress Has Been Made, But Is It Enough?

The negotiations are moving forward and some progress has been made in the past weeks. The question is if that is enough. The biggest points still on the table are fishing rights and a level playing field. On both issues, the United Kingdom has not yet budged. Boris Johnson is still adamant that he is willing to leave the European Union without a deal.

Many companies and trade associations fear a “no-deal Brexit”. The CBI, a business organisation speaking on behalf of 190,000 British companies, urged Prime Minister Johnson to negotiate an ambitious deal and to do so quickly. The trade associations are emphasizing the huge strain on businesses due to a combination of the first and now the second wave of COVID-19, coupled with the uncertainty of the outcome of the negotiations. The statement they released was signed by 71 trade associations. Statements from Logistics UK and The Road Haulage Association below:

David Wells, CEO of Logistics UK, representing the entire logistics industry with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services said: “A deal is vital for the transport and logistics industry and for the whole economy, which relies on fast and efficient supply chains. To keep Britain trading, trucks must keep going through the borders with the least possible friction; a deal with the EU is vital to achieve this and to enable the sector to focus on maintaining its resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and investing to improve performance”.

Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of The Road Haulage Association, representing the UK’s road transport sector said “A deal is clearly in the best interests of both sides. However, for road hauliers, customs bureaucracy will still need to be addressed and despite these transactions rising by 200m per annum, based on current figures there will be a significant shortfall of trained customs agents to manage the process.”

Please find the full statement here.

Be Prepared Whatever the Outcome

Companies in both the United Kingdom and the European Union should get themselves ready for a Brexit on December 31 2020. The fact that a trade deal has not yet been agreed upon, doesn’t change the fact that there will be a border between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Companies trading between the UK and the EU will need a lot of additional customs documents and permits.

If you have any questions about Brexit preparations, please contact one of our specialists. Customs Support is ready for Brexit and our people are happy to help you prepare as well.