BrexOn 27 April, the European Parliament approved the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). The results showed 660 votes in favour, 5 against and 32 abstentions. This was followed by the decision of the Council of the EU to also ratify the TCA.
The EU-UK TCA sets out preferential arrangements following Brexit. The Agreement covers areas such as trade in goods and services, digital trade, intellectual property, fisheries, energy and public procurement. The ratification of the TCA comes as the final milestone of the long-running Brexit saga, which started in 2016. The European Parliament has announced that it will continue to monitor the TCA’s implementation and called for the UK “to act in good faith and fully implement the terms of the agreements”.
Read more about it here.
The Brexit transition period will come to an end on 31 December. After this date, EU legislation will cease to apply in the UK. Although the new EU-UK relationship will depend on the agreement reached (if any), stakeholders in the boating industry will be affected in any case and should therefore be ready. Northern Ireland will remain within a special situation, staying in the EU Single Market. A notice for boating industry stakeholders on the legal changes resulting from Brexit is provided by the European Commission on this document.
Legal framework for recreational craft
The EU Recreational Craft Directive 2013/53, which sets out requirements for craft, was transferred into UK law as the Recreational Craft Regulations 2017, which mirrors the EU Directive while making necessary wording changes (e.g. removing references to EU bodies and replacing them with UK ones). The full text of the UK’s Recreational Craft Regulations 2017 can be found here, while a guiding document to help businesses that intend to place craft in the UK market (except Northern Ireland) can be found here.
Standardisation and conformity
EU harmonised standards for recreational craft (and for other products), which must be followed by businesses to conform with EU law, will remain unchanged in the UK after 31 December, although they will be now called “designated standards”. Designated standards for recreational craft are published here by the UK Government.
Under the UK’s new conformity assessment framework, notified bodies that are based in the UK will become “approved bodies” without the need to seek re-accreditation, and will be able to assess products for the UK market (notwithstanding Northern Ireland). The list of UK approved bodies can be found here. EU-based notified bodies have to apply for the same status and according to RSG two EU-based notified bodies have applied for the status of “approved bodies”.
In addition, the general rule will be that CE certificates will remain valid in the UK until the end of 2021. From 1 January 2022, CE-marked goods will have to obtain a UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) marking to be placed in the UK market (notwithstanding Northern Ireland, where either the CE marking or the new UKNI marking will be valid). Please check here for detailed information and the specific application.
Manufacturers Identity Code
After 31 December, boat builders will have to register their Manufacturers Identity Code (MIC) on the UK register in order to place vessels on the British market if using the UKCA mark. It is advisable to do so in any case. The UK’s MIC register is managed by British Marine, on behalf of the Department of Business, Innovation and Industrial Strategy. To register a new MIC with British Marine, or to find out the manufacturer associated with a specific MIC, follow this link.
At the same time, vessels with a UK-based MIC can no longer be placed on the EU market, and hence affected manufacturers must obtain a new code from an EU Member State authority.
Tariffs and trade
After 31 December, there will be border requirements placed on the movement of goods between the EU and UK, and businesses importing or exporting goods will have to file customs declarations. In addition, business may need to provide security and safety data.
On top of that, if no trade agreement is reached between the EU and the UK, the UK Global Tariff will replace the EU Common External Tariff for goods entering the UK from the EU. The UK Global Tariff rates can be checked here. Likewise, tariffs will apply to goods moving from the UK into the EU.
There will be no changes regarding the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and EU Member States. For UK businesses trading with Northern Ireland, the necessary information can be found here.
On this page from the European Commission you can find information on getting ready for the end of the transition period, including a comprehensive Commission communication on changes after 31 December, as well as various sectoral guidance notes (on areas such as not only recreational craft, but also chemicals, consumer protection, competition, industrial products, inland waterways, maritime transport or VAT, among others). In addition, this checklist for businesses produced by the Commission also explains how to get ready for the end of the transition period. The UK Government provides information about the end of the transition on this page. Specifically, you can find guidance for EU businesses trading with the UK after 31 December on here.
Regardless of the outcomes of the negotiations between the EU and UK on a new partnership agreement, businesses will be impacted by the departure of the UK from January 2021. The European Commission has published a general checklist on the changes that can be found here.
The checklist is also available in all other official EU languages alongside detailed information and sector-specific notices here.
The European Commission has issued practical guidance to help companies prepare for the changes from 1 January 2021 after the end of the transition period. This mainly relates to the changes that will certainly take place, regardless of the future trade relationship. The guidance is important for companies in the recreational boating sector with business relationships to the UK. The guidance includes
All stakeholder notices can be found here. EBI encourages companies to closely follow the recommendations and prepare for the end of the transition periods. Questions for clarifications can be sent to the EBI Office.
The EU Member States authorised the opening of negotiations for a new partnership agreement with the UK and formally nominated the Commission as the EU’s negotiator. The negotiations will be led by Michel Barnier.
The aim of the EU in its negotiation mandate is to achieve an ambitious economic partnership with the UK. The mandate emphasises that the partnership should be underpinned by robust commitments to ensure a level playing field for open and fair competition, which will be one of the contentious points in the negotiations. The aim is to establish a free trade agreement with zero tariffs and quotas to trade in goods, as well cooperation on customs and regulatory aspects.
The UK government has likewise released its mandate for the negotiations. Its main aim is a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement covering substantially all trade. It wants to achieve similar provisions as past EU free trade agreements, such as Canada and Japan. The first formal meeting between the EU and the UK negotiators is expected to take place in early March. EBI will be engaging with the EU’s negotiation team to provide input from the European recreational boating sector.
The European Council adopted the decision to extend Brexit until 31 January. For the duration of the extension, the UK remains a full member of the EU. Prior to this, the two sides had concluded a new withdrawal agreement. This was however not approved by the UK House of Commons and the European Parliament. Should this be ratified before the end of January, the withdrawal would take place earlier. An election will also take place in the UK on 12 December, which will influence the next developments and also the negotiations for the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
EBI is monitoring the developments and urges members to take careful note of the Brexit preparedness notices provided by the European Commission. These include in particular:
For a full overview of the Brexit preparedness notices from the European Commission, please click here. The UK Government likewise published guidance for the recreational craft regulations in case of a no-deal Brexit here. General Brexit guidance from the UK government can be found here.
While the negotiations between the United Kingdom and European Union are ongoing, the preparations are likewise continuing on both sides. Under the current state-of-play, the United Kingdom will leave the EU without a deal on 31 October unless there are further developments.
EBI urges its members to take careful note of the Brexit preparedness notices provided by the European Commission for the sector.
These include in particular: