- EU trade deal over UK for Japan – Japan is more focused on rubber-stamping the historic Japan-EU economic partnership agreement (the largest the EU has ever signed) rather than pursuing an agreement with post-Brexit Britain. Car giants Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi are among more than 1,000 Japanese firms operating in Britain, employing 160,000 workers in areas such as Sunderland. Japan stated that its firms could leave Britain if a chaotic exit makes it unprofitable for them to remain; some Japanese financial institutions have already applied to set up businesses in Europe after it emerged that the UK would lose passporting rights when it leaves the single market. Under EU rules, the UK cannot begin signing trade deals until it has officially left the union. (The Independent)
- Swiss bankers’ hopes for EU access dashed by Brexit – The Chairman of the Swiss Bankers Association stated that Brexit has politicised technical talks on encouraging business across the Swiss-EU border, with Brussels fearing that any concessions given now to Switzerland could set a precedent for the Brexit talks. A longstanding ambition of Switzerland has been to improve access via a financial services agreement, but that goal was quietly dropped from their negotiating objectives earlier this year. Another potential flashpoint is access for Switzerland’s alternative investment fund managers, who have hoped that the Swiss regulatory regime would be declared “equivalent” to the EU’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. (The Financial Times)
- Contract to manufacture “Brexit blue” passports – De La Rue, a British company which has held the contract for producing UK passports since 2009, is initiating a judicial review in the High Court of the Home Office’s provisional decision to allow Gemalto, a Franco-Dutch company, to make new blue national passports from 2019. The Home Office has extended the original deadline for legal challenges from April 3 to April 17 as De La Rue seeks more information from the department on its decision-making process. The awarding of the £490 million contract has been politicised on nationalistic grounds, despite the Home Office’s assertions that the procurement process has been rigorous, fair and open, and that changing the present contractor would save UK taxpayers £120 million. (Reuters)
Jessica's practice focuses on international trade and anti-bribery work, encompassing customs, export control and sanctions matters. Jessica's trade work includes advising international clients on fast-moving and evolving EU and UN sanctions, notably in respect of Iran and Russia, and on compliance with UK and EU export controls. Her trade experience also includes advising on tariff classification and customs valuations. Jessica's anti-bribery experience includes assisting with investigations, and advising clients on compliance with anti-bribery laws. Jessica has also taken a lead role in monitoring Brexit-related developments; analysing how they will affect the UK's trading position generally, and clients' businesses specifically. She has helped clients begin to conduct risk assessments of how Brexit will impact their businesses, and has assisted them in developing tailored Brexit strategies. Jessica also presents at various seminars, webinars, and conferences on the complexities of Brexit. Jessica advises global clients on complex issues arising from international transactions and works with clients across a number of sectors including pharmaceuticals, defence, finance, aviation, energy, and telecommunications. Jessica has also worked previously in Paris, and is fluent in French.