The EU Goods Sub-Committee, chaired by Baroness Verma, has written to Michael Gove about its inquiry ‘Beyond Tariffs: facilitating future UK-EU trade in manufactured goods.’
The letter outlines the key findings of the inquiry and concludes that non-tariff barriers require urgent consideration in the UK-EU negotiations.
Other key findings from the inquiry are as follows:
- SMEs will need to be offered dedicated support, as there is a serious risk that many businesses will not be able to absorb the double shock from COVID-19 and the post-transition requirements.
- The Government should continue to make the case and press the EU for an agreement on mutual recognition of conformity assessments, which would reduce unnecessary duplicative costs for businesses.
- The Government should continue to argue in favour of liberal rules of origin, so that businesses across different sectors can benefit from tariff-free access.
- Any decisions on regulatory divergence should only be made after careful assessment and consultation with the sectors involved.
- The Government must step up its efforts to ensure that the UK has a sufficient number of trained customs agents for 1 January 2021.
- The existing Authorised Economic Operator scheme is inaccessible and unlikely to have a widespread facilitating effect. A new trusted trader scheme should be devised, so that it has the potential to play a significant role in facilitating future UK-EU trade. The new scheme must be accessible to a significant number of businesses, offering different status tiers, including one that is easy to obtain for SMEs.
More information can be found here.
The letter can be read in full here.