Barnier calls new UK-EU trade admin the 'new normal' and plots return to French politics

Thu 14 Jan 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News


Former chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has described the new costs and administrative burden faced by businesses trading with the EU as a ‘new normal’ and said the trade deal will not be renegotiated.

Just two weeks after the beginning of a new era of UK-EU trade, Barnier said some glitches were inevitable but would be ironed out.

No renegotiation

He told a group of newspapers – including the FT – that both sides had to learn to live with the structural changes introduced by the UK’s departure from the EU and the trade agreement signed.

“This agreement will not be renegotiated, it now needs to be implemented,” he said. 

He also said the UK risked losing its tariff and quota free deal if it diverges from EU in regulatory standards.

Seafood problems

His pronouncement will be bad news for the Scottish seafood industry, particularly coming so soon after the EU halted imports from smaller Scottish farmers.

The Guardian reports that delays to shipments have been caused by health checks, IT glitches and the requirement for customs documents.

This has disrupted supply chains meaning fish and seafood destined for France and Spain has been rejected after taking too long to arrive. This has led to some reports of cancelled seafood deliveries being left to rot.

Logistics firms suspend routes

The new costs have also led several logistics companies to suspend UK-EU freight routes or impose surcharges – the latest being DB Schenker, according to the FT

The German firm is suspending shipments from the EU to the UK blaming the “enormous bureaucratic regulations” created by the post-Brexit trading arrangements.

It claimed only 10% of firms sending goods between the UK and EU had the correct paperwork. 

DFD has also extended its suspension of its own UK-EU parcel service, according to Lloyd’s Loading List

Barnier returns to France

Having dominated UK newspapers for the last four years as a key figure in the saga of the UK-EU trade negotiations, Michel Barnier hopes to now return to the domestic political arena in France.

Barnier said he hopes to “take back my place” in the French political party Les Republicains, Politico reports.