Overseas Chambers of Peter Harris

Maison de la Boucterie
Rue de la Boucterie
Saint Saviour
Jersey, JE2 7ZW

The latest text of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement as at 22 10 19. Its opportunities for the Channel Islands

October 22nd 2019

The new Withdrawal Agreement itself is now available in full.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration

The  amendment to the Northern Ireland Protocol can be found at:

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/revised_withdrawal_agreement_including_protocol_on_ireland_and_nothern_ireland.pdf

Whilst there are as yet undefined areas as to its swider cope, the Channel Islands will take note of the section in the Political Framework Agreement on Goods in relation to their links with neighbouring France, in other words: la Baie de Mont Saint Michel:

PART II:

ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIPI. OBJECTIVES AND PRINCIPLES

16.The Parties recognise that they have a particularly important trading and investment relationship, reflecting more than 45 years of economic integration during the United Kingdom's membership of the Union, the sizes of the two economies and their geographic proximity, which have led to complex and integrated supply chains.

17.Against this backdrop, the Parties agree to develop an ambitious, wide-­‐ranging and balanced economic partnership. This partnership will be comprehensive, encompassing a free trade area as well as wider sectoral cooperation where it is in the mutual interest of both Parties. It will be underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition, as set out in Section XIVof this Part. It should facilitate trade and investment between the Parties to the extent possible, while respecting the integrity of the Union's Single Market and the Customs Union as well as the United Kingdom's internal market, and recognising the development of an independent trade policy by the United Kingdom beyond this economic partnership. 18.The Parties will retain their autonomy and the ability to regulate economic activity according to the levels of protection each deems appropriate in order to achieve legitimate public policy objectivessuch as public health, animal health and welfare, social services, public education, safety, the environment including climate change, public morals, social or consumer protection, privacy and data protection,and promotion and protection of cultural diversity. The economic partnership will recognise that sustainable development is an overarching objective of the Parties. The economic partnership will also provide for appropriate general exceptions, including in relation to security.

19.The Parties recall their determinationto replace the backstop solution on Northern Ireland by a subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.

II. GOODS

A. Objectives and principles

20.The Parties envisage having a trading relationship on goods that is as close as possible, with a view to facilitating the ease of legitimate trade.

21.These arrangements will take account of the fact that following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the Union, the Parties will form separate marketsand distinct legal orders. Moving goods across borders can pose risks to the integrity and proper functioning of these markets,which are managed through customs procedures and checks.

22.However, with a view to facilitating the movement of goods across borders, the Parties envisage comprehensive arrangements that will create a free trade area, combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playingfieldf or open and fair competition.

B.Tariffs

23.The economic partnership should ensureno tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all sectors, with ambitious customs arrangements that, in line with the Parties' objectives and principles above, build and improve on the single customs territory provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement which obviates the need for checks on rules of origin.

C. Regulatory aspects

24.While preserving regulatory autonomy, the Parties will put in place provisions to promote regulatory approaches that are transparent, efficient, promote avoidance of unnecessary barriers to trade in goods and are compatible to the extent possible. Disciplines on technical barriers to trade (TBT) and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) should build on and go beyond the respective WTO agreements. Specifically, the TBT disciplines should set out common principles in the fields of standardisation, technical regulations, conformity assessment,accreditation, market surveillance, metrology and labelling. The Parties should treat one another as single entities as regards SPS measures, including for certification purposes, and recognise regionalisation on the basis of appropriate epidemiological information provided by the exporting party. The Parties will also explore the possibility of cooperation of United Kingdom authorities with Union agencies such as the European Medicines Agency(EMA), the European Chemicals Agency(ECHA), and the European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA).

25.In this context, the United Kingdom will consider aligning with Union rules in relevant areas.

D.Customs

26.The Parties will put in place ambitious customs arrangements, in pursuit of their overall objectives. In doing so, the Parties envisage making use of all available facilitative arrangementsand technologies, in full respect of their legal orders and ensuring that customs authorities are able to protect the Parties'respective financial interests and enforce public policies. To this end, they intend to consider mutual recognition of trusted traders' programmes, administrative cooperation in customs matters and mutual assistance, including for the recovery of claims related to taxes and duties, and through the exchange ofinformation to combat customs fraud and other illegal activity.

27.Such facilitative arrangements and technologieswill also be consideredindeveloping anyalternative arrangements forensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.E.Implications for checks and controls

28.The Parties envisage that the extent of the United Kingdom's commitments on customs and regulatory cooperation, including with regard to alignment of rules, would be taken into account in the application of related checks and controls, considering this as a factorinreducing risk. This, combined with the use of all available facilitative arrangements as described above, can lead to a spectrum of different outcomes foradministrative processes as well as checks and controls, and the Parties note in this context their wish to be as ambitious as possible, while respecting the integrity of their respective markets and legal orders."

There is ample room here for a specific administrative arrangement with the two regions of France, by reference to the region, and this opportunity shoud not be missed, perhaps on an "entrustment" basis. Bear in mind that the régime applicable to Northern Ireland might bear application and if not duplication to that between the Islands and France.

Insofar as the UK is concerned, ror those interested in the sheer volume of work required, the link to the page with the latest Withdrawal Bill proposal published by HM Government  is as follows:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-withdrawal-agreement-bill

The Parliamentary link to the progress on the draft Bill which needs to be passed to ratify it may be found at at

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2019-2020/0007/cbill_2019-20200007_en_3.htm

The guidance notes have also been published at  https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2019-2020/0007/en3/20007en.pdf

Please note that the European Parliament will not ratify the Withdrawal Agreement until it has been ratified by the United Kingdom Parliament.

Hpwever, for those EU businesses importing into the United Kingdom from the EU in a no-deal environment a link to the EU Notices can be found here:

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/uk_withdrawal_en

Hopefully that will not become necessary.