Brexit Bites, 11 May 2018

May 10, 2018

Institute Council Member Philip Maguire was among the NI business people who met EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier when he visited the border region last week and raised with him issues in relation to VAT and the future recognition of professional qualifications.  Also next in our series of getting Back to Brexit Basics, we look at what ‘equivalence’ might mean for the UK financial services industry.

A border visit

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier visited the border region on the island of Ireland during a two day visit last week.  During the course of the visit, Mr Barnier said that the EU is open to any solution that the UK government can put forward to maintain the Good Friday Agreement and keeping the border on the island of Ireland open.   He said that the EU’s preferred solution was the backstop arrangement which would see Northern Ireland continue to follow EU rules.

Institute Council Member Philip Maguire was among the NI business people who met Mr Barnier and raised with him issues in relation to VAT and the future recognition of professional qualifications.

The customs conundrum

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May would like to solve the Irish border problem by creating a customs partnership with the EU.  But these plans have faced heavy criticism from some pro-Brexit cabinet members.

The customs partnership model could ultimately mean that the UK would have to stay in a customs union with the EU and remain aligned to the rules of the EU Single Market.  This could mean that the UK would collect EU tariffs for goods coming into the UK on behalf of the EU.

While this model might allow free flowing trade and prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, there are fears that the plan would cause issues for the UK when trying to pursue an independent trade policy after Brexit.

With some finding this model as totally unacceptable, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Prime Minister to find an option agreeable to all UK MPs as well as the EU

More work is needed to be done to establish an option which will mean no hard border on the island of Ireland and frictionless trade between the EU and the UK.

In terms of future talks, the UK and EU have just published the list of items for discussion on the future framework over the forthcoming meetings.