Comment by BVAA CEO Rob Bartlett



Well Boris seemingly pulled the rabbit out of the hat, albeit at the last minute.

Whether that turns out to be a fluffy white bunny we can all cuddle up to, or the Legendary Black Beast of Arrrghhh from the Cave of Caerbannog*, still remains to be seen.

Certainly we will still be able to enjoy, on a personal level, benefits like continued health cover, validity of driving licenses, etc.  Detail on trade arrangements though is coming thick and fast, as are the new guidance documents and tweaks to those already available.  The important bits for the valve industry are on the BVAA’s Brexit Business Readiness web page, which we are having to change constantly.

What is clear though is that much of the work members have (hopefully) already done re: trade is not wasted, since a great deal of that preparation regrettably remains essential for continued trading.

In summary, the Free Trade Agreement is a tariff-free/quota-free arrangement which allows traders to move goods between the EU and UK, subject to meeting the Rules of Origin rules.  A Government guide on these was recently released and promulgated by BVAA.

Furthermore new customs procedures will apply, including making customs declarations, and there will be new VAT rules.  There is mutual recognition of each other’s Authorised Economic Operator schemes which will allow those with such approvals to move their goods more easily between the two areas.  A great deal of uncertainty remains concerning the provision of ‘services’ however. 

In our little world we are not expecting too much by way of deviation, just yet, however the UK can now set its own standards. 

The recent change of heart concerning the citing of EN (European) standards instead of the previously-promulgated ‘British Standards-only’ in support of UK Statutory Instruments, is evidence – were it needed - of some matters still being decided exceptionally late, on the hoof.  Likewise the recently discovered references in the trade deal document to decades-old computer software like Netscape Communicator.  It whiffs a bit of being a lash-up.  And I’m sure there’s more to come out like this in the coming weeks and months.

For now, to trade in the UK and the EU, we will still need to follow two systems of Conformity Assessment (UKCA Marking and CE Marking), and a colossal amount of new red tape has been generated rather than avoided.  The valve industry does however have a fine pedigree of meeting multiple and complex requirements, and I’m sure we can adjust in good order.

Let’s just hope the new non-EU trade deals this ‘exit’ facilitates in 2021 and beyond are worth all the hassle, and that the UK Government can make a decent fist of getting the newly-approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine rolled out, making this deadly bug one less thing to worry about.

*one for the Python fans there.

 


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