UK: White Paper Provides Further Glimpses Of UK Stance In Relation To Brexit Negotiation

On 2nd February the UK Government published a White Paper setting out its objectives for the upcoming negotiations with the European Union and beyond. It was presented to Parliament a day after the House of Commons approved the Bill which, once it receives the Royal Assent after its passage through Parliament, will enable the UK Government formally to initiate the process of leaving the European Union. Whilst the White Paper restates the 12-point plan set out in Prime Minister Theresa May's speech last month, it adds some further detail.

What is striking is the degree to which the Government prioritises continuity in a number of key areas, including trade, regulation and research.

Though EU laws and institutions will cease to govern the United Kingdom after Brexit, the Government appears intent on achieving an outcome which preserves a number of features of the existing arrangements, stating openly that that "it makes no sense to start again from scratch".

One of the Government's main aims is to secure the " freest possible trade" between the United Kingdom and European Union after Brexit. The financial services and energy sectors are two examples of where the Government perceives there to be benefits to participating in an open and interconnected pan- European market. Whilst the United Kingdom will no longer be subject to the raft of EU directives and regulations which apply to these sectors, the post- Brexit UK framework may turn out to be similar in substance, if not form.

The Government will seek to "establish strong cooperative arrangements with the EU" for financial services and continue to "support and implement international standards to continue to safely serve the UK, European and global economy." Likewise, the Government states that "coordinated energy trading arrangements" in a pan-European market for gas and electricity would result in lower prices and better security of supply for consumers. A similar stance is adopted towards the communications and transport sectors, where the Government hopes that businesses will be able to carry on participating freely in these industries in both the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The fate of the EU customs union as it applies to the United Kingdom is one which has potentially far- reaching implications. Failing agreement on this issue, UK exporters will be bound by the rates set in the EU common external tariff when exporting to the European Union after Brexit. This may put many UK exporters at a competitive disadvantage to their EU counterparts, who will continue to benefit from tariff-free trade when moving goods around the bloc.

In spite of its intention to leave the EU customs union, the Government seeks a customs agreement which is as " frictionless" as possible, and which ensures that the "goods trade between the UK and EU can continue as much as possible as it does now". Given the obvious desire on both sides to provide clarity to businesses EU-wide, the customs issue is likely to be near the top of the negotiation agenda.

When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, it will cease to be a member of the many EU agencies which exist. The competence of these agencies spans a number of sectors, such as medicines (the European Medicines Agency), chemicals (the European Chemicals Agency), food safety (the European Food Safety Authority) and financial services (the European (Financial Services) Supervisory Authorities).

In contrast to many other areas, the Government is silent as to its intention for future cooperation with these agencies, stating only that "our future status and arrangements with regard to these agencies" will be discussed as part of the negotiations. The Government does, however, advocate continued collaboration with the European Standards Organisations, which is likely to mean that there will remain a high degree of harmonisation in product standards between the United Kingdom and European Union post-Brexit.

On matters relating to science and research, particularly regarding nuclear energy, the Government appears committed to maintaining close links with EU institutions. The United Kingdom is currently a member of Euratom, the EU nuclear research programme. Though the United Kingdom will lose its membership after Brexit, the Government has stated its intention to continue collaborating with Euratom through "alternative arrangements" to ensure that the impact on domestic nuclear energy strategy is as limited as possible.

Some quarters of the press have been critical of the White Paper, accusing it of lacking crucial detail on how the arrangements sought by the Government are to be implemented in practice, and of glossing over what will happen if the key terms are not agreed. That eventuality is dealt with only in passing in the White Paper. However, in what appears to be a thinly veiled reminder of the Prime Minister's threat in her Lancaster House speech of 17 January to "change the basis of Britain's economic model" - no doubt through competitive tax reductions and deregulation - if a satisfactory agreement with the European Union cannot be reached, the Government states that it will "ensure that our economic and other functions can continue, including by passing legislation as necessary to mitigate the effects of failing to reach a deal".

The Government might argue that the White Paper is only intended to represent its starting position in what will inevitably be a protracted and hugely complex negotiation, and that its contingency plans should only be revealed progressively as and when the EU27's stance becomes clearer. The proof of whether the Government has succeeded in convincing its audience of its ability to deliver its desired outcome may be in how businesses across the continent – and indeed further afield – react. If nothing else, it is now possible to form an idea of what Brexit might look like if the Government's preferred model prevails.

Originally published on 6 February 2017

Visit us at

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

© Copyright 2017. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.

This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.