Published on: 18 December 2019Following last weeks’ General Election result, the UK will now, almost certainly, leave the European Union on 31 January 2020.
If we leave the EU at the end of January, it is important for our members to know that our relationship with the EU, at least during the transitional period, will remain the same as it is now and that it is business as usual.
The Government is to add a new clause to its Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), which is expected to have its first reading on Friday (20 December 2019) before being put through the final stages after the Christmas recess.
The new clause will explicitly rule out extending the transition period beyond 31 December 2020. The Government will also remove the clause that was in the original WAB that states that the transition period can be extended for two years if both sides agree.
Following the 31 January, the UK will enter into a transition period in which both sides will attempt to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This period is due to end on 31 December 2020.
To negotiate an FTA in 11 months is extremely ambitious, most take a minimum of four years and this one is likely to be extremely complicated due to the geographical closeness of the two sides and the fact that Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has indicated the UK do not want close alignment on a number of issues. If no FTA is agreed in 11 months and the transition period is not extended, then the UK will leave the EU without a deal on 31 December 2020 and the UK will revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs.
Maintaining the pressure
For many of our members, the need to maintain a frictionless trading agreement with our European counterparts remains critical. It is therefore imperative that the UK Government secures, at the earliest opportunity, the best possible deal for those trading with the EU.
British Marine recognise the importance to keep pushing this message to Government and so, earlier this week, met with Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Department for International Trade officials to discuss our future trading priorities and how our activities, outside of the European Union, can ensure our future prosperity.
In addition to this weeks’ activity British Marine, in partnership with the RYA, has called for a meeting with the HM Revenue and Customs to discuss future VAT Paid Status guidance for our members.
Finally, British Marine has, for many years, maintained strong relationships with its closest and most valued MPs who represent key marine constituencies.
We would therefore like to welcome back not only those MPs who have retained their seats but also those new MPs entering Parliament for the first time.
British Marine will be looking to engage with those new to our key constituencies. If you are a British Marine member and would like to participate in a constituency visit of your local MP, please do not hesitate to contact Brian Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Members can also click here for briefings on all the new MPs and visit our dedicated Brexit page for all the latest information and guidance.