Brexit Deal: 10 Implications for Transport:(updated version)
24 December 2020
The clock is no longer ticking! I’m sure we’re all relieved there’s a deal & welcome the fact it’s unprecedented in scope & ambition. I’ve taken a quick look & set out 10 implications for transport, travel and trade in transport goods and services:
The Agreement covers not just trade in goods and services, but also a broad range of other areas including investment, competition, transport, data protection, and social security coordination.
- Above all it provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin.
- However, in addition to customs checks and formalities, UK producers wishing to cater to both EU and UK markets must meet both sets of standards and regulations and fulfil all applicable compliance checks by EU bodies (i.e. there will be no equivalence of conformity assessment).
- Both parties have committed to ensuring a level playing field by maintaining high levels of protection in areas such as environmental protection, climate change and carbon pricing, social and labour rights, tax transparency and State aid, with effective, domestic enforcement, a binding dispute settlement mechanism and the possibility for both parties to take remedial measures, including terminating tariff advantages, should one side be deemed to be acting “unfairly” in case of non-regression or rebalancing.
- A non-regression agreement has been reached on climate change, and carbon pricing, with possibility of linking EU and UK carbon pricing regimes
- On transport, the agreement provides for continued and sustainable air, road, rail and maritime connectivity, though market access falls below current levels. It includes provisions to ensure that competition between EU and UK operators takes place on a level playing field, including passenger rights, workers rights and transport safety.
- The agreement enables the UK’s continued participation in a number of EU programmes for the period 2021-2027, such as Horizon Europe.
- Arrangements have been made to facilitate some short-term business trips and temporary secondments of highly skilled employees, but UK service suppliers in the EU will have to comply with host-country rules in each Member State, the list of activities permitted on visa-free short term business trips is limited and professionals will no longer benefit from the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
- EU public procurement markets are open to UK bidders established in the EU, on equal footing, and vice versa.
- The Agreement also provides for the establishment of a Partnership Council, to supervise and facilitate the implementation and any supplementing agreement, and oversee 23 Trade Committees, Specialised Committees and Working Groups, plus several cooperation and consultation procedures, These will address a number of important transport and related issues issues, including airports slots, air traffic management, aviation security, passenger rights, road safety, sustainability, level playing field, competition and public procurement, aeronautical products and motor vehicles and parts. Some Committees will seek to mutually recognise approvals and tackle barriers to trade, others are tasked with seeking agreement on removing barriers to trade, and adapting and deepening cooperation in the future. The Partnership Council may establish further committees.
- A new Parliamentary Partnership Assembly will be established, together with a Civil Society Forum and Domestic Advisory Groups. Each party shall consult them on issues covered by this Agreement and any supplementing agreement, and consider views or recommendations submitted by its domestic advisory group or groups. These will include business and employers’ organisations.
I’m sure we will all further review the full text in the coming days, and I’ll amend my analysis if appropriate. Do please share you own analysis.
As we’ve said for some time, 2021 will mark the beginning, not the end, of a new relationship with the EU, with ongoing negotiations and discussions on transport, travel and trade continuing for many years to come.
Consequently, we will still want to maintain a constructive and informed dialogue with our European neighbours, in order to protect and promote our interests at home and abroad.
Our primary objective must be to make future EU-UK relations as mutually beneficial as possible for the transport and others sectors.
Put simply, to make the new UK-EU relationship a success!
I look forward to working with you in 2021 to do just that.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas!
Contact me if you would like more information.
Mark Watts is Director of LP Brussels and a former two-term Member of the European Parliament. He has been advising organisations and businesses on EU transport, energy and environment policy for over sixteen years. He writes in a personal capacity.