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Brexit Trade Negotiations Continue Despite Missed Deadline

The United Kingdom is now bracing for a hard Brexit after a 15 October deadline was missed as the U.K. government and the European Union (EU) continue to negotiate through trade issues.

The United Kingdom is now bracing for a hard Brexit after a 15 October deadline was missed as the U.K. government and the European Union (EU) continue to negotiate through trade issues. Though negotiations have been contentious, the talks will resume to hopefully finalize any agreements before the final Brexit date of 31 December 2020.

In January 2020, the United Kingdom officially exited from the European Union, signing a Withdrawal Agreement that entered the country into a transition phase. The U.K. is scheduled to definitively leave the EU at the end of 2020. A trade deal was to be reached by 15 October, a self-imposed deadline by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson that was missed.

As it stands, negotiations are ongoing as the focus remains on mitigating any economic damages caused by Brexit. The EU is committed to ensuring that the U.K. will not undermine the standings of its own industries. Details that need to be worked out include the issue of fishing waters, whether the EU’s Court of Justice will arbitrate legal disputes, ensuring a level playing field on regulations and standards, and disputes over the Northern Ireland border. Such details and power maneuvers have led to a mostly stalled negotiation process.

The EU held a summit last week during which the EU noted their concerns about the progress of trade deals, while U.K. Prime Minister Johnson expressed his willingness to conduct a hard Brexit with no deals. While these contentious negotiations will continue, they signal a higher likelihood that 31 December will arrive with no deal on the future relationship between the EU and the U.K.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The status of the U.K.’s trade negotiations with the EU remain to be seen over the next few months. These negotiations could continue to negatively impact businesses in the U.K., while likely also trickling down to businesses relocating to the U.K., who may already be struggling due to the COVID-19 crisis. Worldwide ERC® will continue to provide any updates to this matter, and should any member have questions, please reach out to Vice President, Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, rpeters@worldwideerc.org.

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