With the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union
gathering momentum, the Government has published a White Paper Report setting out plans in
respect of the negotiations.
Briefly, the Government is aiming to achieve a
"comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement"
between the UK and the EU member states, and to ensure "a
smooth, mutually beneficial exit".
Triggering Article 50
Earlier this month, MPs overwhelmingly approved a bill to enable
Prime Minister, Theresa May, to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon
Treaty, thus marking a pivotal and historical moment in the United
Kingdom's relationship with the European Union.
The Prime Minister has confirmed that Article 50 will be invoked
by the end of March 2017, which will mark the start of the formal
negotiation period (of two years) to carve out the UK's exit
from the EU. While uncertainty still remains over the new
relationship that will arise between the UK and EU, the Government
has pressed ahead by publishing a White Paper Report setting out
their plans for the upcoming negotiations.
White Paper Report
The plans are presented in a series of bullet points that offer
little more than a summary of the Government's aspirations.
However, the white paper does reiterate that the Government is
looking to forge a new relationship of collaboration and
partnership with the EU, and to set out a more global reach for the
UK (particularly focused on establishing profitable trade links for
goods and services).
The white paper also goes on at length, setting out that the
European Communities Act will be repealed, that there will be an
end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK,
that the UK's relationship with Ireland will remain as strong
as ever, and discusses how immigration controls might be
Negotiation aims on trade:
The white paper sets out the Government's aims for the
negotiations in respect of trade in goods and services, some of
these are as follows:
To enable UK companies to have the
maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European
To implement a new customs agreement
with the EU, which will help to support the aim of trade of goods
which can be as 'frictionless' as possible;
To ensure the freest possible trade
in services between the UK and EU member states;
To enhance employment law and rights.
UK employment law already goes considerably further than EU
legislation, but the Government aims to protect and enhance
workers' rights to a greater degree, with an independent review
of employment practices already underway; and
To secure new trade arrangements with
countries across the world, with ambitions that these may be
In short, the white paper does provide an indication of the
Government's negotiating aims, but it does not set out a
clearer understanding of what the likely post-Brexit landscape for
trade and UK businesses will be.
In the foreword to the white paper, the Prime Minister reports
that "Business isn't calling to reverse the [referendum]
result, but planning to make a success of it". However,
whether the Government's aspirations of a free trade deal with
the EU is achievable is sure to be revealed as the negotiations
While the only certainty in respect of the UK's withdrawal
from the EU is uncertainty, there are a number of steps that your
business can take to prepare.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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