January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018

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UK Government Publishes Response to Feedback on Trade White Paper

On January 5, the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) published the UK government’s response to feedback on the DIT’s Trade White Paper on “Preparing for our future UK trade policy” published on October 9, 2017.

The Trade White Paper:

  1. outlined the basic principles that will shape the UK’s future trading framework and the government’s developing approach to a future trade policy;
  2. indicated areas in which the government was preparing legal powers to ensure that the UK is ready to operate independently as the UK exits the European Union (EU);
  3. asked for views on the government’s developing approach and the legal powers, and for feedback on the government’s:
    1. commitments to an inclusive and transparent trade policy;
    2. approach to unilateral trade preferences; and
    3. approach to trade remedies.

Following the publication of the Trade White Paper, the government introduced the following bills to the UK Parliament:

  1. Trade Bill 2017-19; and
  2. Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill 2017-19, previously known as the Customs Bill.

The DIT published the government’s response summarizing the feedback received, and sets out the government’s response and follow-up actions it will take. Of particular note are the following points:

UK’s Membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Once the UK leaves the EU, it will be an independent member of the WTO and will need to establish its own WTO goods schedule and services schedule, which will provide the baseline from which the UK will negotiate free trade agreements with other countries. The Trade White Paper confirmed the government’s intention to replicate its existing commitments as set out in the EU’s schedules of commitments, as far as possible, and submit these for certification in the WTO ahead of leaving the EU. If the schedules are uncertified by the time the UK leaves the EU, the government has stated that they do not anticipate there to be any problems, as “it is not uncommon for WTO members to operate on uncertified schedules for periods of time.”

UK Trade Relationships

Those responding to the Trade White Paper welcomed the government’s commitment to seek a time-limited implementation period after Brexit, as this will allow businesses time to adjust and allow new systems to be put in place. The business community asked for greater clarity to allow for planning. The government also welcomed Donald Tusk’s, the President of the European Council’s, call for discussions on the implementation period to start immediately and that it should be agreed as soon as possible. The government also reiterated that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” but that they hope that the agreements reached so far will form part of a final package that “establishes a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU for the future.”

A copy of the Trade White Paper is available here, and the government’s responses are available here.

©2018 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

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About this Author

Carolyn H. Jackson, International Attorney, Katten Muchin law firm
Partner

Carolyn Jackson is a partner in Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP and is a Registered Foreign Lawyer. She provides US financial regulatory legal advice to a broad range of market participants, including commercial banks, investment banks, investment managers, broker-dealers, electronic trading platforms, clearinghouses, trade associations and over-the-counter derivatives service providers.

Carolyn guides clients in the structuring and offering of complex securities, commodities and derivatives transactions and in complying with US securities and commodities laws...

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Nathaniel Lalone, Katten Muchin Law Firm, Financial Institutions Attorney
Senior Associate

Nathaniel Lalone, a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP, has a broad range of experience in the regulation of financial products and financial markets, and frequently provides regulatory and compliance advice to trading venues, clearing houses and buy-side firms active in the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, futures and securities markets. He is actively involved in advising clients on the implementation of MiFID 2 and MiFIR in the European Union as well as the international reach of US financial services regulation. He also has significant experience with structuring and documentation relating to OTC derivatives and structured products.

Prior to joining Katten, Nathaniel was a member of the US Regulatory and the Derivatives and Structured Finance practices at Allen & Overy LLP.

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Neil Robson, private equity fund managers counselor, Katten Law Firm, London
Partner

Neil Robson, a regulatory and compliance partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, focuses his practice on counseling hedge and private equity fund managers and other investment advisers on operational, regulatory and compliance issues. He regularly addresses Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and EU authorization and compliance under both the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFM Directive) and MiFID, cross-border issues in the financial services sector, market abuse, anti-money laundering and regulatory capital requirements, formations and buyouts of...

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