There is now an “in-principle” agreement on the UK leaving the EU. Both the UK and the EU need to approve and sign the withdrawal agreement before detailed work can begin on negotiating a new relationship.
This should mean that the UK leaves the EU at the end of this month with a transitional period (during which existing requirements will apply), while a new trade deal is being negotiated with the EU. Recent talks between the UK and the EU have so far been cordial and we are awaiting confirmation from the European Commission that existing trade deals between the EU and other countries will still include the UK for the duration of the transition period.
The UK will also be discussing potential free trade agreements with the rest of the world this year as well as finalising its proposed tariff regime with the World Trade Organisation. AMDEA attended a recent cross-sector workshop with the BEIS consumer goods team where we reiterated the needs of the domestic appliance industry.
One key change in the new Withdrawal Agreement is that Northern Ireland will remain in the European Customs Union for at least four years so goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be classified as imports.
In the meantime work has begun on removing the barriers between Junctions 10 and 9 of the M20 which were set up last March to manage outgoing lorry movements in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The road should be back to three lanes by 1 February 2020.