Government begins to play its hand at the Brexit negotiation table

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The Government has begun to publish a number of position papers which aim to set out how it intends to negotiate with the EU during the Brexit process.

The proposals, released at the end of August, set out how the trade in goods and services between the European market and the UK should continue once the country leaves in March 2019.

They argue that goods and services already available in the UK and the EU markets should be allowed to remain on sale in the UK and EU without additional restrictions being put in place.

The paper, entitled Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK, also asks for the retention of current consumer protections.

If agreed to by the EU, it will mean that products that have been authorised for sale in the EU, such as approval for a certain model of a car, should remain valid in both markets after exit.

Also, where businesses have undertaken compliance activities prior to exit, they should not be required to duplicate these activities to ensure the continued sale of goods and therefore authorisations, certificates and registrations issued prior to exit should continue to be valid.

A number of other papers have also been published which deal with dispute resolution between parties in the UK and EU, the role of the European Court of Justice and the importance of continued confidentiality for official documents shared by the UK with its EU partners.

These papers are the first indication of the direction that the UK Government intends to take during negotiations with its European neighbours however, Brussels has refused to get drawn in on the papers saying that trade must take second place to talks on citizens’ rights, the so-called UK’s “divorce bill” and the Irish border situation.

David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, said: “These papers will help give businesses and consumers certainty and confidence in the UK’s status as an economic powerhouse after we have left the EU.

“They also show that as we enter the third round of negotiations, it is clear that our separation from the EU and future relationship are inextricably linked.

“We have already begun to set out what we would like to see from a future relationship on issues such as customs and are ready to begin a formal dialogue on this and other issues.”

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said that the Government’s position on trade is a “significant improvement” on EU proposals.

However, John Foster, Campaigns Director at the CBI, said: “The only way to provide companies with the reassurance they need is through the urgent agreement of interim arrangements.

“This would ensure that goods and services can still flow freely, giving companies the certainty they need to invest.

“The simplest way to achieve that is for the UK to stay in the single market and a customs union until a comprehensive new deal is in force.”

LINK: Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK