News & Insights

Weekly Update on UK-EU Relationship: week commencing 19 April 2021

The UK Government published a statement following the meeting of Lord Frost and the EU Commission in relation to the Protocol on Northern Ireland.  Lord Frost indicated positive momentum with some difficult issues remaining.  Both parties are committed to further outreach with business groups and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland to reach a solution.

The statement from the EU Commission, acknowledges that the implementation of the Protocol is a “joint endeavour” and said that the legal proceedings against the UK for breaches of the Protocol  under the Withdrawal Agreement “will be continued as long as necessary”.

The European Scrutiny Committee published its report on the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. It called for greater clarity on proceedings in the EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and recommended that the UK Government should do more to facilitate Parliamentary scrutiny of the Joint Committee.

In case you missed it…

On 19 March UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Canadian Minister for Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng welcomed the ratification of the UK-Canada trade continuity agreement which should be in force in April.

On 23 March, the International Trade Secretary announced the creation of four new Trade and Investment Hubs across the UK.

UK and EU have concluded negotiations on the text of the Memorandum of Understanding on Financial Services Regulation.

A look to the week ahead

Monday 19 April

The Finance (no.2) Bill: Ways and Means (Freeports (Stamp Duty Land Tax)) will be debated. The Finance Bill will also be considered on its first day of committee stage.

The Procedure Committee continues its inquiry into the procedure of the House of Commons and the territorial constitution.

The Financial services bill reaches its third day of report stage and third reading in the House of Lords..

Tuesday 20 April

Westminster Hall will debate on the scope of the proposed Turing scheme to replace the Erasmus student exchange programme.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee takes evidence on moving animals across borders from representatives of the British Veterinary Association, Farmers Unions, an animal welfare organisation and the Scottish Rural College.

Wednesday 21 April

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will face oral questions in the Chamber about the effect of the NI Protocol on levels of trade and trade flows between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, the implementation of the NI Protocol and the effect of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on peace in Northern Ireland.

Westminster Hall will debate on accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The International Trade Committee will continue their inquiry on digital trade and data by taking evidence from a number of key witnesses.

Thursday 22 April

The International Trade Committee will take evidence on the UK-EU trading relationship with James Webber, Partner, Shearman and Sterling; Dr Emily Lydgate, Deputy Director, UK Trade Policy Observatory (University of Sussex) and Dr Damian Raess, Professor at the World Trade Institute, University of Bern.

The Scottish Affairs Committee will hold a one-off evidence session on Fisheries and Scotland with representatives from fishing and seafood organisations.

Committee reports

  • The International Trade Committee published its report on  UK trade remedies policy, looking at the operation of the UK trade remedies regime.
  • The Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee has published its report Beyond Brexit: food, environment, energy and health on what the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) means for food trade, fisheries, environment and climate change, energy and carbon pricing, chemicals and health.
  • A Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol Sub-Committee has been established by the House of Lords.

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.