MPs give final backing to Withdrawal Agreement Bill (BBC)

  • MPs have given their final backing to the bill that will implement the UK government’s Brexit deal.
  • The Commons voted 330 to 231 in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and it will now pass to the House of Lords for further scrutiny next week. If peers choose to amend it will it come back before MPs.
  • The latest vote gives approval to the 11-month transition period after 31 January, in which the UK will cease to be an EU member but will continue to follow its rules and contribute to its budget.
  • SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Scotland would “remain an independent European country”. “This is a constitutional crisis, because we will not and we cannot accept what is being done to us”.

Sterling drops after BoE chief hints at more stimulus (FT)

  • Sterling fell as Mark Carney suggested that more stimulus could be on the cards in a speech that followed hints from EU trade representatives of a delay in Brexit trade talks.
  • The pound traded 0.6 per cent lower at $1.3016 against the dollar in early London trading while the euro rose 0.5 per cent against sterling. The Bank of England’s governor said that “there is a debate at the [monetary policy committee] over the relative merits of near-term stimulus to reinforce the expected recovery in UK growth and inflation”.
  • Speculation suggesting that trade talks between the EU and the UK will continue past the proposed deadline of December has weighed on the pound, said Neil Jones, a currency strategist at Mizuho Bank.

UK could put tariffs on food from countries with lower standards (The Guardian)

  • The UK could introduce tariffs on imports of food from countries with lower food safety and farming standards than the UK, using World Trade Organization rules, the environment secretary has suggested. “We want to ensure all our food comes from countries that meet our standards,” Theresa Villiers told an audience of farmers on Wednesday.
  • The surprising suggestion, which would be highly controversial with any potential trade partners and could provoke a trade war, followed an admission by Villiers that farming would be a key component of any post-Brexit trade deal, and that the UK would face heavy bargaining from potential trade partners.
  • Villiers refused to back farmers’ demands for an independent trade commission that would rule on whether trade deals met the UK’s standards, but said she would relay their views to her government colleagues and a decision would be made.
  • Mark Bridgeman, president of the Country Land and Business Association, which represents landowners and rural businesses, said farmers were also concerned about the transition to a new subsidy system. Under plans laid out by Villiers, farmers will be moved over the next seven years from payments based on the amount of land farmed to new subsidies based on agreements by farmers to provide environmental protections.

Non-EU clearinghouses must start talking with European counterparts, ESMA says (MLEX)

  • Non-EU clearinghouses and their regulators will have to prepare for more frequent talks with the European Securities and Markets Authority, as the watchdog stressed it preferred a more in-depth approach to assessing the stability risks of overseas infrastructure such as the London Stock Exchange’s LCH.
  • In a three-year plan set out today, the Paris-based authority said it will be increasing talks with foreign authorities as it starts to check UK and US-based clearinghouses are not endangering the financial system through interactions with EU clients. 

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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