EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement concluded between the EU and the UK sets out preferential arrangements in several areas including trade in goods and services, digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, aviation and road transport. The agreement is underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field and respect for fundamental rights.

The agreement consists of three main pillars

  • A Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
  • A new partnership for citizen security
  • Agreement on governance

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has now been agreed by the UK and the EU negotiating teams. This agreement has been ratified in the UK and received Royal Assent. The document itself is lengthy and will take time to extract the detail however we know in the short term there are some actions and information that require consideration.

Our team of specialists are on hand to assist with queries across all aspects of your EU Exit process. We have 30-minute slots available where we will walk you through the steps you will need to take, over the next few weeks, months and beyond.

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Below we have outlined 10 areas of consideration

  1. This agreement is the first in EU history to eliminate all tariffs and quotas. This is only the beginning of the changes to come. Over the next few months, we will see considerable information emerging on the finer details as the UK workings with the EU are unwound.
  2. A new Council has been set up to oversee the changes. Working groups will support, advise, and monitor new working practices and legal changes to ensure understanding and compliance.
  3. Businesses need to ensure their systems are set up or updated to handle the new VAT requirements and customs arrangements and manage without EU VAT simplifications from 1 January. To check if your business is ready, you can access the Brexit Checker here.
  4. Rules of Origin (RoO) is crucial to establish, to ensure you qualify for free tariff access.  Please see HMRC guidance on Rules of Origin here
  5. There is funding support available for training your finance teams on the new rules. You can find out more information about this grant here.
  6. There has been a temporary 4-month arrangement put in place regarding the continued transfer of data between the EU and the UK.
  7. There is a visit limit of 90 days in a 180 day period for short term visits between the UK and the EU. This will cover conferences, meetings, trade shows and customer and supplier negotiations.
  8. No work is permitted, and anyone wishing to work must obtain the relevant employment authorisation and visa before travelling. As a business owner, you will need to ensure that you know where your employees are and that they have the right to reside and work in the countries they are in.
  9. The deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) is 30 June 2021. However, it is recommended that eligible individuals apply as soon as possible to ensure they have the relevant documentation to show their residence in the UK.
  10. Any decisions you make for your business today may have implications for the long term, and these should be thought through carefully. 

You still have time to prepare - what needs to be done now and over the next month?

  1. Ensure your finance, HR, IT and operational teams are briefed on return to work on the main areas of business impact and any changes to business processes and procedures.
  2. Apply for EORI numbers/VAT registrations in Great Britain, EU and Northern Ireland. 
  3. Do not forget about registrations, labelling and marking for goods being shipped after 31.12.2020. Non-compliance costs can be high.
  4. Implement a communication plan to cover employees, suppliers, customers, trade and regulatory bodies to ensure transparent systems and responsibilities.
  5. Ensure financial information is up to date to monitor cost impact and business model changes as the further detail emerge.

How we can help 

We can support you to make the necessary changes during this period of uncertainty. Our dedicated team of experts can help whatever stage of your planning journey. So whether you’re reviewing your process for importing or exporting goods, hiring people from the EU or want to know more about providing services in EU markets, we welcome you to get in touch. 

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