On the 18 June 2020, TIGA, the trade association representing the video games industry, published its UK-EU trade deal paper setting out the priorities for the video games industry in a new trade deal, following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The paper outlines the priorities for the sector in the following 8 key areas:
- Tariffs – The UK should negotiate a trade deal with the EU that avoids quotas, tariffs, and other barriers to trade.
- Maintain and enhance Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) – VGTR is the most important factor in determining the favourability of the UK’s tax environment as far as the video games industry is concerned. VGTR therefore needs to be maintained and potentially enhanced in a new deal.
- Access to finance – Outside of the EU, the UK games industry will not be able to access schemes such as Creative Europe and the Horizon 2020 programmes. The UK Government should replace access to these schemes with alternative grant programmes such as a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF).
- Access to talent – TIGA research indicates that approximately 20 per cent of the games development workforce originates from other EU countries and 5 per cent come from other countries outside the EU. The UK Government should ensure that our post-Brexit migration system does not impair the ability of UK universities to recruit from the EU.
- Permit the free flow of data between the UK and the EU – Games development requires the use of a large amount of personal and non-personal data and the free flow of this personal and non-personal data between the UK and EU is essential to games publishing and to the operation of online games platforms. It is therefore important that the free flow of data continues between the UK and the EU after exit day.
- Protecting rights of games companies in relation to intellectual property – Overall, regulatory alignment with IP to the EU is generally advantageous for games companies because of the reduction in costs of complying with separate IP laws. However, as the Government has chosen to diverge (at least in part), the Government take the opportunity to reform IP law to address imbalances and lack of certainty in the current system.
- State aid – It is crucially important for the games industry that future UK state aid policy permits the maintenance and potential enhancement of VGTR, the introduction of a VGIF, the continuation of schemes such as the UK Games Fund; the operation of Coronavirus inspired support measures such as the Bounce Back Loans scheme; and Government schemes to encourage investment in training.
- Labour, environment and climate change standards – As set out in the revised Political Declaration, a UK – EU trade deal should maintain employment, environment and climate change standards at the current levels
The report can be read in full here: TIGA’s priorities for a UK-EU Trade Deal 16 June 2020
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA, said:
“The video games sector is an export focused, high skills, high technology industry. If the UK – EU trade deal avoids quotas, tariffs and barriers to trade, whilst enabling the UK Government to maintain VGTR, introduce a VGIF, allow studios to recruit highly skilled people from the EU and ensures the free flow of data between the two jurisdictions, then the UK will remain a world-leader in video games development.”