European parliament publishes study on trade and cooperation agreement between the EU & UK

31 August 2023

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has recently released a comprehensive study evaluating the European Union-United Kingdom Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

The report primarily focuses on the initial outcomes linked to the agreement's level-playing-field provisions, with specific attention given to environmental, social, and labour rights protection, as well as trade flows between the EU and the UK.

The study delves into potential points of contention that have hindered the smooth application of the TCA and examines the EU's assessment of its implementation at both national and regional levels. The report concludes by outlining potential strategies to enhance the TCA's effectiveness between the EU and the UK.

From a customs perspective, the study highlights noteworthy observations. Despite the absence of tariffs for a significant portion of goods crossing the EU-UK border, disruptions in supply chains and increased administrative costs for businesses have arisen. This is mainly due to new custom procedures implemented, which require importers to verify that imported goods abide by the regulatory standards of the importing country, and the rules of origin, which play a key role in avoiding the payment of duties on intra-EU-UK trade. The study then specifically refers to the European Parliament's Resolution released in December 2021, which stressed a need for investment in customs control facilities to solve these issues. 

It also details that there has been a significant increase in the cost of goods moving between the EU and UK due to their importation being subject to VAT, which is calculated based on the value of the goods, plus shipping costs and duties. 

The study also points out that addressing the unforeseen circumstances and deficiencies of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol and ensuring that the Windsor Framework is implemented correctly, will play a big part in enhancing both the relationship and agreement further.

 For full details, please refer to the complete text of the study here.

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