7 things you absolutely need to know about the Brexit agreement

6 Jan 2021

Christmas Eve was the day: the Brexit agreement for a new partnership between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) was announced. "The deal" is now available to everyone. You just haven't read the, no less than, 1,246 pages one-two-three. That is why the national government has listed 7 things that you absolutely must know about the agreement. Read more!

1. Always dealing with customs

Customs will also return with this Brexit agreement. So keep in mind that from 1 January you will have to deal with Customs if you want to import or export products. Do not go out unprepared. Read more about customs formalities on this page about import and export.

2. No quota and tariffs on trade

To be eligible for the tariff and quota exemption, you must demonstrate that your goods meet the conditions of "rules of origin". The rules of origin in the agreement are established on the basis of "bilateral cumulation". This means that materials from both the EU and the UK may be counted towards meeting the tariff- and quota-free market access thresholds. The rules of origin also include per product (group) the maximum amount of materials that may be used from other countries outside the EU.

3. Agreements to reduce customs controls where possible

The treaty states that if parties meet certain requirements, they can obtain the status of "Authorized Economic Operator" (AEO). This means that they can use a simplified customs procedure when it comes to controls for security. It has also been agreed that the EU and the UK will recognize each other's AEO permits. So check whether you qualify for AEO status.

4. Import or export of animal or vegetable origin

If you import goods of animal or vegetable origin from the UK, they must meet the EU's requirements, the "sanitary and phytosanitary requirements". Conversely, these products must meet the requirements of the UK if you export them to the UK. That means that you have to take into account export certification and import controls. Read more about importing and exporting animal and vegetable products.

5. No mutual recognition of certificates for industrial products

The deal includes agreements on technical barriers to trade, "technical barriers to trade" (TBT) and the relaxation of procedures regarding product safety and market conformity.

However, there is no mutual recognition of certificates for industrial products. This means that products for which a certificate is mandatory may only be marketed within the EU with a certificate issued by an 'EU-notified body'. A certificate issued by a UK-based notified body is not valid. When products already have a certificate from a British notified body that was issued before 1 January 2021, an EU notified body can take this into account when assessing an application for a valid EU certificate.

It is possible for the supplier to issue a self-declaration on conformity. This is only possible for a clearly defined category of products, which entail little risk. Agreements have also been made regarding the recognition of Good Manufacturing Practices inspections for pharmaceuticals and active ingredients subject to conditions.

6. Access to public procurement

The agreement contains procedures to guarantee predictable and transparent tenders. These agreements are in addition to those contained in the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) of the World Trade Organization and apply to the same sectors.

7. Agreements made about services

In many cases you are still allowed to provide services or purchase services from the UK. There are, however, specific rules for, among other things, delivery services, telecommunications, financial services, international maritime transport services and legal services. In addition, it has been agreed to work together on reasonable and transparent roaming rates.

Want to know more?

Government authorities are currently working hard to update the Brexit Impact Scan and texts on the website in accordance with the agreement. Watch the December 30 webinar, where experts talk about the deal.

Do you want to read the agreement to learn what the consequences are for your sector? Then download it from the EU website.

Written by
Saskia van de Schoot

directeur new business

Saskia van de Schoot
Source: Rijksoverheid
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