Post-Brexit legislation preparing the UK for life outside EU institutions next year have been drafted or are being reviewed by Parliament. The immigration Bill received Royal Assent last week. This ends freedom of movement on 31 December and replaces it with a new points-based system.
If your business relies on EU or other non UK workers then check out the transitional arrangements to 30 June 2021 and the new rules here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
Last week the Agricultural Bill was debated and eventually passed through Parliament. This removes the Common Agricultural Policy and replaces it with new UK supports for farmers. The Government agreed that farmers will receive the same level of support as they currently do through the Common Agricultural Policy until 2024, while the current system of subsidies is gradually phased out.
We can expect to see further progress to bring existing EU laws and rules into UK legislation before the end of the transition period. For example, the Financial Services Bill was introduced on the 21 October to maintain the UK’s regulatory standards and openness to international markets.
This Bill is the first step in shaping a regulatory framework for the UK’s financial services sector outside of the EU.
New Trade deals
In addition to passing legislation to ensure UK rules and regulations are transparent at the end of the transition period, the Government is also negotiating new trade deals. Whilst the UK was an EU member, the UK was part of 40 trade deals which the EU had with more than 70 countries. More than 20 of these existing deals, covering 50 countries or territories, have been rolled over and will start on 1 January 2021.
It is worth noting fifty-two countries currently have free trade deals in place with the UK for the end of the Brexit transition period. These agreements account for only 10 per cent of the UK’s total cross-border trade, according to last year’s figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
On 23 October, the Government signed a new trade agreement with Japan, which means that 99% of UK exports there will be free of tariffs.
There are further trade talks with Australia, the US and New Zealand. If and when these talks come to a trade deal only time will tell.
EU-UK trade accounts for half of overall UK trade and seven of the UK’s top ten trading partners are EU members. That is the main reason why we all hope a trade deal happens!