About Brexit Desk
What a constructive UK-EU relationship may look like in the future remains unclear. At FLINN we are focused on sectors that will be crucial for twenty-first century economies including digital markets, audio-visual media and IP rights, the framework for competition and energy markets. Although the relationship that the UK says it is looking for does not resemble any other existing bi-lateral relationship with the EU – the negotiations for that deal cannot begin until either a withdrawal agreement has been signed – or – the UK has left in accordance with its notification under Article 50 Treaty on European Union.
UK – EU FTA
Any Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that is eventually achieved will at least have to cover: common objectives, institutional arrangements and (potentially most difficult of all) dispute resolution mechanisms. It currently seems the FTA could resemble, but not be the same as, arrangements previously concluded between the EU and Norway or Canada respectively.
Politically, it seems there will have to be an adjustment to how the UK engages with the EU Single Market – even though, somewhat ironically, the Single Market (including passporting arrangements for financial services) was largely a creation of the ‘1992’ Programme guided then by the British EU Commissioner, Lord Cockfield.
Competition and Mergers
Policy choices will have to be made about the future implementation of the UK’s mergers regime. The competition law (anti-trust) regime seems less likely to be affected as there is already genuine parallelism with existing EU law – although the scope for divergence after EU exit will increase.
At the time of writing (January 2019) the clock is ticking down towards a disorderly Brexit; but many businesses, on both sides of the Channel, seem prepared ill-prepared for a ‘no-deal’ exit.
Quite apart from any tariff concerns, contract terms and conditions are one important area for verification. For example, does your contract assume that the UK is a member of the EU? Is there a mechanism for contract review in light of changed circumstances? What is the currency for payment?
FLINN takes an active part in policy discussions around Brexit. Where there are concrete documents (the draft withdrawal agreement and accompanying political declaration for example) FLINN stands ready to provide analysis and practical comments.