Brexit Bulletin - 2 August 2021



Last week, ADS held the latest in its Managing Brexit webinar series with two sessions focused on future trade with the DIT. You can read more about the webinars below and watch them again in the Members Area here.


Following its exit from the European Union, the UK ceased to be a member of the Lugano Convention, an international treaty which governs cross-border civil and commercial legal disputes. The UK has applied to re-join the Convention but the European Commission announced that the bloc was not able to consent to UK accession. The issue now rests with member states to decide through a Council vote. Failure to re-join the Treaty could create difficulties for multinational businesses.


Finally, a note to say that the ADS Brexit Bulletin will be paused for the rest the summer, but members can keep up to date through our Brexit Hub.





This week, ADS hosted two webinars with the Department of International Trade (DIT) as part of our Managing Brexit series to provide members with useful information as we start to look to the UK’s trading future. The webinars provided an opportunity to introduce ADS members to the topic of Trade Policy if they have not been engaged with it much before.


The first webinar focused on Free Trade Agreements and what these really mean for our sectors. Dora-Raluca Trofor, from the Policy Coherence and Coordination team, gave members an overview of what FTAs do, and which chapters can typically be found in an agreement. Other policy experts then informed members on how FTAs can compliment WTO agreements, such as on Rules of Origin, Tariffs, and Customs.


As an example of FTAs in practice, Flynn Butterworth, a Senior Trade Policy Adviser on Japan, talked members through the UK’s FTA with Japan. The team covered off important areas of policy including Digital agreements, Intellectual Property, and Customs provisions all of which are a key element in the UK-Japan FTA and provide an example of how these elements may be negotiated going forward. Members can find a copy of the webinar here.


The second webinar introduced members to DIT’s wider policy interests and saw DIT provide advice on how best to engage with the Department on policy issues going forward. Experts spoke about areas that trade agreements could cover in relation to Government procurement, as well as the UK’s existing international commitments. DIT informed members that promoting UK innovation and foreign direct investment would be key priorities for the Government in future negotiations.


DIT’s future planning was also a topic of discussion in the second webinar, as the Department looks to work with the business community to deliver market access through its various engagement groups, which it encouraged members to engage with. The webinar concluded with an update on the negotiations process for agreements with Canada, Mexico, and India, with the Department keen to hear from members on any challenges or opportunities they foresee. Members can find a copy of this webinar here.









Northern Ireland Update


On 21 July, the UK government published a Command Paper on the Northern Ireland Protocol: the way forward. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis MP, delivered a statement, which set out that the UK Government wishes to find a new balance with the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol “to the benefit of all’’.


The UK is looking for a standstill on existing arrangements to ensure there is room to negotiate. However, since the publication of the Command Paper, Vice-President Maros Sefcovic has made a statement that the EU will continue conversations with the UK but will not agree to a renegotiation of the Protocol. More details on the Command Paper and what it means for ADS members have been summarised in an ADS blog.


Last week, the House of Lords European Affairs Committee published an introductory report from the Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. ADS have written a blog outlining the highlights of this report which assesses the approach taken with the NI Protocol by both the UK Government and the EU. As well as identifying the flaws in each side’s approach, the report also offers a set of mitigations and solutions to help repair some of the damage caused by Brexit and the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.





UK Trade Policy Update


Green Trade report

The second report by the Board of Trade was published on 22 July when International Trade Secretary Liz Truss made a two-day visit to Scotland to promote Scottish exports. The Green Report sets out the economic case for green trade and the transition to a low-carbon economy. The full report is available now online.


Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS)

The Government has launched a consultation seeking views on a new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS).  The consultation looks at trading preferences that will help countries ‘trade their way out of poverty’.  The consultation is open until 12 September 2021. ADS is not planning to respond directly but a link to the consultation is now open for all to access.





Customs and Border Update


Border Operating Model

Last week saw the Border Operating Model (BOM) receive its fourth official update. This document is part of guidance on the full implementation of customs controls at the UK border and reflects the decision to delay full implementation of controls because of the impacts of COVID-19 on UK businesses. This new iteration contains new implementation timetables, updates on the movement of people and details on Border Infrastructure decisions. The highlights of the new information can be found in our ADS blog.


Safety & Security

As UK Government continues to update their guidance regarding the UK border, more detailed information on requirements for imports and exports was made available last week. In a covering note from HMRC, the changes to guidance have been summarised, also reflecting on the new timetables published in the BOM. Temporary waivers are due to expire in coming months and full Safety and Security information will be required for exports from Great Britain to the EU. The detailed guidance in version three of Business Requirements document is now available.


Government recommend that businesses start preparing now for these changes. You can find more information on the current import and export requirements on GOV.UK.





SME Support Fund


The SME Brexit Support Fund set up in February aimed to help small businesses handle disruption and paperwork associated with Brexit. The fund, which closed to applications last month, has awarded just a third of total funds amid complaints that its complexity had discouraged companies from applying. Ministers have been encouraged to expand the fund to support businesses.





Reforming the framework for better regulation


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced a consultation on the Better Regulation Framework. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, this consultation seeks feedback from interested parties on how the Government can reform the UK framework.


The consultation sets out 5 principles that will underpin the Government’s approach to regulation:

  • the UK will aim to set rules in a way that boosts UK growth.
  • the UK will act to support the development of new technologies.
  • the UK will use non-regulatory options where they can, while putting in place rules where they are needed.
  • regulations will be thoroughly analysed to ensure they work in the real world.
  • the UK will set high standards at home and engage in robust regulatory diplomacy across the world, helping to solve problems that require a global approach.


The consultation follows a report from the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform, and examines several of the Taskforce’s proposals for reforming regulation. More information can be found here.





HMRC is providing a range of support to customs and international trade customers. ADS has collated a series of slide packs provided by government as part of our useful resources page on the ADS Brexit hub and also has a page dedicated to webinars and videos for organisations that trade with the EU.


Customs & International Trade Helpline – 0300 322 9434

The helpline is the main route in for customers with general customs queries. Capacity has been scaled up following the end of the transition period.

  • For GVMS – (details to be published online soon)






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