Industry urges joint UK-EU body overseeing post-Brexit deal to address ongoing trade issues

Tue 12 Jul 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Industry groups have urged the joint UK-EU body overseeing the post-Brexit trade deal to address the concerns of exporters – including administrative barriers to trade, soaring energy prices and supply chain shocks.

The Partnership Council, which is the primary overseer of trade relations between the UK and the EU, hasn’t met for 13 months. There is currently no scheduled date for a future meeting.

It is supposed to meet at least once a year but a senior EU diplomat told the Express that there’s currently “nothing to talk about.”

Industry pleas

William Bain, the head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, called for greater cooperation between the UK and EU to address exporters concerns.

“Trading issues such as these should not be placed on the backburner until the autumn,” he told the FT.

Working groups

Meetings of working groups, on issues such as fisheries and energy, have been held, however.

The commission is expected to review how the TCA is working after the summer break – by which time the UK is expected to have a new prime minister.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the proper functioning of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was “critical to the UK automotive sector” and central to Britain’s international competitiveness.

No improvement

Most of the candidates hoping to succeed Boris Johnson have so far expressed that they will press ahead with passing the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill through parliament.

They will all claim to be best placed to “unleash the benefits of Brexit”, according to Politico.

The Telegraph also reports that some of the candidates could be more hostile to the EU than Johnson, who it claims has backed a softer line in his recent battles with Brussels.

‘Honest dialogue’

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he regrets the “lacking” sense of partnership between the EU and UK in a speech to the British-Irish Council, reports the Journal.

Martin said the strength of partnership shown in responding to the war in Ukraine has not been seen when it comes to negotiations over the implementation of the NI Protocol. 

“A return to that partnership approach by the UK government, through honest dialogue and balanced agreement, can resolve the current implementation challenges with the Northern Ireland Protocol,” he said.

The new Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara, who replaced the resigned Brandon Lewis, has said that his “immediate priority” will be to restore the Assembly and the Executive as soon as possible, reports the Standard.