News & Insights

Weekly Update on UK-EU Relationship: week commencing 15 March 2021

Michael Gove issued a written statement to the Commons setting out a new time frame for introducing border controls on EU imports to Great Britain. The UK Government had planned to phase in checks on some animal and plant products during the first half of 2021, but most processes will now be delayed by six months until 1 January 2022.

The Government has taken several temporary operational steps to avoid disruption to the flow of critical goods and supplies into Northern Ireland, potentially in breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol and International Law.

Monday 15 March

The Secretary of State for International Trade will make a statement about negotiations on the UK’s Future Trading Relationship with Australia.

Lord Hay of Ballyore, DUP, will ask an oral question on the impact of the Protocol on businesses in Northern Ireland and progress made with the EU on resolving issues with the Protocol.

Tuesday 16 March

The Committee on Arms Export Controls continue their inquiry into UK arms exports in 2019, which looks at the potential impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on arms export controls. The session will question three witnesses from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will continue their inquiry on Seafood and meat exports to the EU with the following witnesses:

  • James Russell, President, British Veterinary Association (BVA);
  • Gary MacFarlane, Director, Chartered Institute for Environmental Health
  • (3:30pm) Shane Brennan, Chief Executive, Cold Chain Federation;
  • Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive, British Ports Association.

The UK Government has announced additional financial support for the seafood and aquaculture sectors with an Expanded Seafood Response Fund, which provides cash grants for businesses.

In the Scottish Parliament, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee will take evidence on the Exemptions from the Official Controls at Border Control Posts (Amendment) Regulations 2021 in the EU Withdrawal Act from Jesus Gallego, Deputy Director, ARE EU Exit Unit and Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer (Scotland), and Keith White, Lawyer, Scottish Government.

Wednesday 17 March

Happy St Patrick’s day!

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee continue their inquiry on Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol by taking evidence from the following witnesses:

  • Andrew Lynas, Managing Director, Lynas Foodservice;
  • Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster;
  • Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive, Retail NI.

In the Lords, the EU Environment Sub-committee will hold a non-inquiry session on North Sea energy cooperation and net zero with the following witnesses:

  • Helen Quayle, Policy Officer at Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
  • Professor Melanie Austen, Professor of Ocean and Society at University of Plymouth
  • Dr Paul Gilliland, Head of Marine Planning at Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The International Relations and Defence Committee continue their inquiry into the UK’s security and trade relationship with China taking evidence from The Rt Hon George Osborne, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, HM Treasury.

Thursday 18 March

The Lords’ International Relations and Defence Committee will hold their second evidence session this week on the UK’s security and trade relationship with China with The Lord Sedwill KCMG, Crossbench and The Lord McDonald of Salford KCMG KCVO, Crossbench.

In the European Parliament, the Fisheries Committee will assess the State of play in the implementation of the EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement in an exchange of views with the Commission.

The International Trade Committee will meet to exchange views on the agreements between the European Union and third countries relating to concessions on all the tariff-rate quotas included in the EU Schedule CLXXV.

Key Dates for 2021

  • 31 March: UK & EU to have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a framework for regulatory cooperation on financial services.
  • 30 April: ending the provisional application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
  • 30 June: end of temporary bridging period for the free flow of data from the UK to the EU.
  • 1 July: end of six-month grace period for Great Britain-Northern Ireland trade on chilled meat products.
  • 1 October: new date for ending grace period in relation to food safety paperwork when moving agri-food goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • 31 December: end of 12-month adaptation period for Great Britain businesses to implement new EU regulation in relation to the flow of medicines to Northern Ireland.