Brussels to allow data to continue to flow to UK – FT

  • Brussels is set to allow data to continue to flow freely from the EU to the UK after concluding that the British had ensured an adequate level of protection for personal information. A draft decision by the European Commission, seen by the Financial Times, is expected to be approved this week.
  • It will be welcomed by businesses — particularly in the health, insurance and technology sectors — that regularly transfer customer personal information such as bank details.  The move will also help with aspects of EU-UK law enforcement co-operation, although the UK has lost access to the giant SIS II police database and European Arrest Warrant network.
  • A positive decision by Brussels on data sharing had been widely expected and would benefit the EU and the UK. It would be periodically reviewed by the commission and is open to legal challenges at the European Court of Justice, such as the one that led to parts of the EU-US “Privacy Shield” data transfer arrangements being struck down last year.
  • The decision to grant data adequacy to the UK will face scrutiny by the European Data Protection Board before it can be implemented, but the body does not have the power to block the move.
  • Vera Jourova, EU vice-president for values and transparency, said the UK had a head start when striking a data adequacy deal compared with countries where the systems were “rather distant” from the European bloc’s.
  • The arrangement will be re-examined every four years to check that UK rules do not compromise the privacy of EU citizens, according to the draft decision. It will allow for data transfers on police matters such as search warrants and the interception of communications for preventing or detecting serious crimes.

See also: UK data adequacy decision would justify mass surveillance, EU lawmaker says – MLex

Brexit trade disruption fuels boom at French and Irish ports – FT

  • The UK’s departure from the EU on January 1 at the end of the Brexit transition period, and the resulting customs and health controls at the borders, immediately diverted trade between Ireland and the rest of the EU away from the UK “land bridge”.
  • The surge in demand for the routes linking the island of Ireland to the rest of the EU has fuelled a Brexit boom at French ports such as Cherbourg, Dunkirk and Roscoff, and at Rosslare in south-eastern Ireland. 
  • “There was a tremendous shift in traffic with Brexit — and the paperwork — and the realisation that D-Day was finally here,” said Glenn Carr, general manager at Rosslare port.
  • French port officials and ferry groups tell a similar story after shipping companies including Stena Line, Irish Ferries, Brittany Ferries and DFDS moved quickly as Brexit approached to introduce new services and expand capacity.
  • The UK land bridge was previously popular with Irish traders because it provided the fastest and cheapest access to continental markets, but many have now opted to take longer direct sailings because of anxiety about delays at British ports and the onerous new paperwork. 
  • Data from January suggest that more than half the 150,000-170,000 annual trips that previously used the land bridge will now take the direct sea route between Ireland and France, although temporary travel restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic may also have contributed to the change.
  • Carr said Rosslare could yet take 80,000 freight units a year from the land bridge, including vehicles carrying loads to and from Northern Ireland. “We’re seeing trucks that we’ve never seen before.” UK shipments, on the other hand, have dropped. Rosslare, long a secondary port behind Dublin, reported a 49 per cent fall in January, in line with the overall 50 per cent decrease in Irish-UK trade since the start of the year. 

Raab shrugs off Brexit troubles, urging people to take ‘10-year view’ – Guardian

  • Potential losses in UK trade with the EU because of Brexit will be more than made up by more opportunities in developing markets, Dominic Raab has claimed, saying people should take a “10-year view” of the current troubles faced by companies.
  • Questioned about warnings from a number of firms that bureaucracy and duties means they will go out of business, or have to relocate operations inside the EU, the foreign secretary also appeared to blame Brussels, saying it was “imposing” obstacles to trade.
  • Since the end of the Brexit transition period in January, with the UK’s status outside the single market and customs union, a number of firms have said their current position is untenable, with JD Sports saying last week it expected to open a major warehouse inside the EU to avoid bureaucracy over shipments to European customers.
  • Asked about the experience of companies facing such difficulties, Raab told BBC1’s Andrew Marr programme that the government was “doing a huge amount to support them, with advice and guidance, particularly intermediaries dealing with things like custom declarations”.
  • He added: “We have always been clear that there are changes that come with exiting the transition period, and what we’re trying to do is support businesses as best we can to manage those.”
  • “I think if you take a 10-year view, as well as looking at the short-term risk, which is right to do, actually the growth opportunities in the future are going to come from emerging and developing economies around the world.”
  • Asked if this meant UK businesses should accept less trade with the EU and focus more on places such as Asia, Raab replied: “I wouldn’t put it quite in those terms, but it’s certainly right to say that we want to bank, if you like, the baseline of our European trade – it’s very important to us, and they are obviously our neighbours – but if you look at the opportunities for growth in the future for UK companies … the growth economies are going to come from the Indo-Pacific region.”
  • Raab also appeared to blame the EU for many of the barriers, saying the government was seeking to “reduce and mitigate as far as we can the bureaucratic obstacles that the EU is imposing”.
  • He was bullish about the idea of EU financial centres taking considerable business from the City of London, despite Amsterdam having overtaken London as Europe’s top share trading centre.

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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