• May says she can get deal through with binding changes – Theresa May has told EU leaders she can get the Brexit deal through Parliament if they give her legally-binding changes to it. The UK prime minister – who also vowed to deliver Brexit “on time” – was speaking after a series of meetings with top EU officials in Brussels. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker again ruled out the kind of changes Mrs May wants to see. But the two sides agreed to further talks to break the deadlock. Mrs May said she had also spoken to European Council President Donald Tusk about his comments on Wednesday about there being a “special place in hell” for those who campaigned for Brexit without a plan to deliver it safely. She said Mr Tusk’s language “was not helpful” and had “caused widespread dismay in the United Kingdom”. Mrs May said she had told him he should be “focusing” on working with the UK to get a Brexit deal. Mr Tusk tweeted that there was “no breakthrough in sight” following his talks with the UK prime minister. (BBC)

 

  • Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit plan ‘promising’, Donald Tusk tells Theresa May – The EU’s Donald Tusk has told Theresa May that Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit plan offers a “promising way out” of the current Brexit stalemate, according to Sky sources. It comes after the Labour leader set out his five demands for backing the government in a letter to the prime minister, including establishing a customs union with the EU and alignment with the bloc’s single market. Regarding his Brexit plan, Mr Corbyn said: “Surely that’s a basis on which there could well be a majority in parliament… there could well be agreement with the European Union. Which means that we have an intelligent and dynamic relationship with Europe in the future. We don’t move into the problems of going out of the European Union with no agreement and the disaster that would be for many manufacturing industries.” (Sky News)

 

  • Brexit deal may not be put to MPs until late March, officials say – After strained talks on Thursday, during which Donald Tusk suggested that Jeremy Corbyn’s plan could help resolve the Brexit crisis, Theresa May and the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, agreed to hold the next face-to-face talks by the end of February. But officials believe it is increasingly likely that any renegotiated deal will only be put to the Commons at the end of March, necessitating even then an extension of the article 50 negotiating period to get legislation through parliament. On Thursday the German finance commissioner, Günther Hermann Oettinger, suggested the chance of a no-deal Brexit was now as high as 60%. (The Guardian)

 

  • No-deal Brexit: UK exporters risk being locked out of world’s harbours – British exporters sending goods to far-flung destinations in the coming days risk being locked out of harbours around the world as a no-deal Brexit looms, business leaders have warned. Independent trade experts and the UK’s biggest business groups said exporters could be dispatching goods from UK ports imminently that would not arrive until after the 29 March deadline. This raised the prospect of goods being stuck in ports or facing hefty additional costs in the event of a disorderly Brexit. The warning came as the Bank of England warned the UK economy was on course for its weakest year since the global financial crisis, as evidence suggested Brexit jitters were spreading. (The Guardian)

 

  • UK draws up secret plan to boost economy after no-deal Brexit – A secret group at the heart of the UK government is drawing up plans to kick-start the British economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit through options that range from cutting taxes and boosting investment to slashing tariffs. The plan, dubbed “Project After” by some ministers, is being marshalled by Mark Sedwill, who as cabinet secretary is head of the civil service. It has brought together senior figures from the Cabinet Office, the Treasury, the business department and the international trade department, in close contact with the Bank of England. Although the project has been mentioned at cabinet meetings in recent weeks its existence has not been made public. “It’s basically a Doomsday list of economic levers we could pull if the economy is about to tank,” said one Whitehall figure. (FT)

 

  • Budget cuts threaten Ramsgate ferry plan – A decision is due on budget cuts that could prevent Ramsgate reopening as a ferry port to ease pressure on other routes in the case of a no-deal Brexit. The Government handed Seaborne Freight a £13.8m contract to run a service to Ostend, in Belgium, under contingency plans to alleviate any delays at Dover. But the local council is considering cuts to port spending that would make roll-on, roll-off services impossible. Thanet councillors in Kent will vote on the proposed £630,000 cuts later. The council has been pumping money into the port to keep it in a state of readiness for ferry operations. (BBC)

 

  • Bank of England governor warns no-deal Brexit could cause recession –On growth, the Bank of England now expects UK GDP to only rise by 1.2% this year, down from 1.7%. That would be the weakest growth since 2009, when Britain was reeling from the financial crisis. Most of the damage will be done in the first half of 2019. If Britain secures a soft Brexit, growth could then pick up – perhaps faster than the Bank expects. Governor Carney warned: “The fog of Brexit is causing short term volatility in the economic data, and more fundamentally, it is creating a series of tensions in the economy, tensions for business.” (The Guardian – Live Stream)

 

 

Author

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.

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