Press Release ON The Text Of The Interim Brexit Agreement.
Today the EU's Michel Barnier and UK's David Davies have shared the interim text of the withdrawal agreement, which we at Fashion Roundtable see as a welcome step.
Trade agreement texts, generally do not get published during the negotiations to protect the commercial interests of the parties. In this case however the opposite is true since it is an agreement to untie commercial relations it is very important for citizens and companies to see where discussions are standing.
Eszter Kantor, Fashion Roundtable's EU Politics Expert said: "For me, one of the interesting things is that there are no texts in brackets; meaning that there are no counter proposals for certain paragraphs. They are either accepted, not accepted or being clarified on a technical level. Normally parties bring their own solutions and suggestions and I am missing the suggestions from the UK`s side. I can see that citizens` rights has been agreed upon; so everyone can come and go and take residence until the end of 2020. Goods traded without tariffs, IP rights already earned stay as now, access to public procurement except for the non-discrimination part is agreed, UK payment to the EU is agreed."
Clarification is still needed on VAT collection, information security, public procurement review procedure, agreement`s entry into force, Northern Ireland protocol, including the rights of the individuals, State Aid, single electricity market in Northern Ireland (grid access), safeguard clauses and the protection of financial interests.
The paper has been colour-coded: green means approved. Areas which have not yet reached an agreement include no agreement yet on the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and its judicial procedures. They also include several which are key to the fashion industry: IP registration, conformity assessment bodies, geographical indicators, data protection (important for Tech and FashTech), administrative cooperation on customs, including recovery claims, and perhaps most importantly for fashion whose largest EU trading partner is Ireland, free movement of goods to and from Northern Ireland. They also include Euratom ownership of fissile materials, dispute settlement and non-compliance, cooperation on criminal matters and enforcement of judicial decisions.
With no alternative text on Northern Ireland, it is likely that the UK will accept the proposal for a common EU trade area encompassing NI. As mentioned by Mr. Barnier at the press conference, the EU`s proposal will apply unless another viable solution is found.
This agreement covers only 21 months, from April 2019 to Dec 2020, i.e. through the Brexit transition period ONLY. We therefore need clarity on what will be in place for business for January 2021. Hopefully the negotiators will be able to agree on the outstanding items as discussion on the future agreement will begin soon. EU Member States will adopt guidelines on the framework of a future agreement at the end of this week. At the end of this year both agreements have to be presented to the national parliaments