UK close to securing post-Brexit ‘continuity’ trade deal with Japan (The Guardian)
- The UK is close to sealing a “continuity” trade deal with Japan that will mirror that of the EU pact that Britain will no longer be part of next January.
- However, in order to strike an agreement in time for it to be ratified by the Japanese parliament, the international trade secretary, Liz Truss, has had to drop her ambitions for preferential treatment for British food exports.
- While she has not got the concessions she wanted on agriculture, often the most contentious subject in trade talks, it is understood the deal will go further than that of the EU’s in relation to data and digital services.
- The deal is also expected to involve zero tariffs on Japanese cars imported to the UK in line with the EU deal, which removed the 10% levy on automobiles and parts applying to third countries.
- A Department for International Trade spokesperson said: “Both sides are committed to an ambitious timeline to secure a deal that will enter into force by the end of 2020 if at all possible. Our priority is to maintain and enhance the trading relationship between our two countries.”
New French Europe minister – Brexit deal possible but not ‘at any price’ (Reuters)
- France will continue to take a tough line on defending the rights of French fishermen in Brexit talks but a deal with the United Kingdom is still possible, France’s new European affairs minister Clement Beaune said today.
- “We will not accept a deal at any price,” he told France Inter radio in his first public comments on Brexit since his appointment on Sunday. “Better no deal at all than a bad deal,” he said while adding that a deal was nevertheless the best outcome for all concerned.
- Britain and the European Union clashed last week over the chances of securing a free trade agreement, with Brussels deeming it “unlikely” but London holding out hope one could be reached in September.
- France is one of the coastal states that has pushed hardest for EU fishermen to keep the right to fish in British waters after a transition period ends at the end of this year.
EU ‘no longer seeking Belfast office’ for trade relations (BBC News)
- The EU is no longer seeking a Belfast office to oversee its trade relations with Northern Ireland, a senior official has said. The EU had requested an office in Belfast to help oversee the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol after the end of the transition period.
- “The Commission are no longer pressing for a representational office in Belfast,” Dr. Andrew McCormick said. “What they are asking for is sufficient and proportional oversight.”
- The Northern Ireland protocol is supposed to be operational by January and has to be applied even if the UK and EU do not reach a trade deal.
- The protocol means that Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU customs rules, even though it remains part of UK customs territory. It will mean a range of new processes and checks on GB to NI trade, including customs declarations.
EU watchdog tells UK banks to get ready for full Brexit (Reuters)
- Banks using Britain as a gateway to the European Union must fully execute their plans for serving EU customers before a Brexit transition period ends in December, the EU’s banking watchdog said on Wednesday.
- Britain left the EU in January, but financial firms have unfettered access to the bloc under transition arrangements that end 31 December. There is no mechanism for direct EU access in deposits or loans from January.
- Many big banks have already opened up hubs in Frankfurt and elsewhere in the bloc to continue serving customers there, while EU banks in London like ING have begun shifting some staff home.
- The European Banking Authority said that these banks must now complete the “full execution” of their Brexit plans, as agreed in their new licences.
- “In particular, financial institutions should ensure that associated management capacity, including appropriate technical risk management capabilities, is effectively placed ahead of time,” EBA said. This should be “commensurate to the magnitude, scope and complexity of their activities”, it said.