UK Government launched a ‘2025 UK Border Strategy Public Consultation’ – Statewatch

  • The UK government has launched a ‘2025 UK Border Strategy Public Consultation’, which seeks to “ensure that the government and industry are able to work in partnership together to deliver a world class border.”
  • According to the government, its ambition is to “create the world’s most effective border by 2025, to ensure the UK becomes an even more attractive place to travel to and do business with. It will ensure the UK is better protected against crime, terrorism and environmental and biosecurity threats.”

Charles Grant (Director of the Centre for European Reform) has stated that he is “optimistic about a Brexit deal – despite the gloomy outlook” – Guardian. Meanwhile, others have noted a possible “chink of light at the end of the UK-EU trade tunnel” – Euronews

  • Although failure to reach a deal remains a real risk, some commentators (including, Charles Grant, Director for European Reform – see here) have expressed optimism regarding the possibility of a deal, noting a number of factors that may make reaching a deal this year more likely.
  • Amongst other things, it has been noted that there has been movement on both sides – with the UK agreeing to stay in the European Convention of Human Rights, and progress being noted in relation to future cooperation on policing and judicial matters.
  • It is also noted that the UK has a number of pressure points which would incentivise them to agree a deal, including: the risk of the UK breaking up (a no deal and its consequences would boost support for the SNP in next May’s Scottish elections. The SNP is already on course for a majority, but the bigger its vote, the harder it will be for Johnson to block another referendum on independence);  no deal impact on Northern Ireland (goods travelling from Great Britain to the region would have to pay tariffs, making the new border regime more complicated and uncomfortable for Northern Ireland); the impact of big business (if by October the Government appears unwilling to do reach a deal, businesses may speak out, and public opinion may then start to worry about jobs); and the impact of WTO tariffs (the tariffs that a “WTO terms” Brexit would entail would cripple sectors such car-making and livestock farming, and the EU might not recognise British financial regulations as “equivalent” or data privacy rules as “adequate” – thus hitting financial services, police cooperation and tech firms).
  • However, despite the progress and incentives to reach a deal – there remain significant barriers to a deal – key sticking points remain in crucial areas such as ensuring the level playing field / ensuring fair competition and state aid (see here under heading “deadlock over level playing field and state aid”).
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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