HDA UK MEDIA AND POLITICAL BULLETIN – 22 August 2017
Exports plan seeks to avoid extra EU checks after Brexit
Financial Times, Henry Mance, Paul McLean and Rochelle Toplensky, 22 August 2017
The Financial Times reported on release of the government’s latest Brexit position paper, which covers exports and “continuity of the availability of goods”. The FT states that the British government has attempted to “avoid disruption to car-makers, drug producers and other exporters”. The UK proposal, which would maintain the status quo during a transitional period and push for light-touch regulation after 2019 was met with praise by UK stakeholders. Among other things, the plan outlined by the UK would propose that UK and EU products already for sale in the EU be exempt from any future regulatory requirements after exit.
The CBI said that the “UK government’s position on goods is a significant improvement on the EU’s current proposal”. They also stressed that only “the urgent agreement of interim arrangements” would give business the certainty that it needed. While the EU has said that a transition deal can only be discussed once the Brexit Bill is agreed to, the UK is keen to discuss transition as soon as possible. Even the pro-EU campaign group Open Britain approved of the UK proposals, calling them “welcome”. On Tuesday, Britain will release its position paper on family law and consumer disputes.
UK wants continued EU co-operation on medicines, food safety
Politico, Helen Collis, 21 August 2017
Politico reported that the UK wants a Brexit deal that “allows it to work with the EU in overseeing medicines and food safety”. In the position paper released, the UK government said that “Market surveillance and enforcement authorities should have access to information about unsafe products, such as medicines and food, and mechanisms to take action with respect to non-compliant goods,”. Patient groups fear that Brexit would cut the UK off from Europe’s side-effect detection system, managed by the European Medicines Agency, which can immediately suspend unsafe product licenses.
The paper also said that “it makes sense to recognize our common regulatory systems and the UK’s ambition for cooperation in the future”. Politico stated that this was an example of the UK “wanting the best of both worlds”, since it wants to have mutual recognition of the EMA’s regulatory and phamacovigilance systems, but doesn’t want to be a member of the agency. If it were a member, it would be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ, a Brexit red line for the Prime Minister.
Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK
Department for Exiting the European Union, HM Government, 21 August 2017
The paper released by DExU is an attempt to maintain the regulatory status quo in the short term, and align EU and UK regulation and policies in the long term, even as the UK leaves many of the legal mechanisms currently part of the EU. The paper states that “ensuring products can be lawfully marketed in the UK and the EU is a key element of delivering a smooth, orderly exit from the EU for business and consumers.” The paper also notes that the UK seeks to “avoid unnecessary duplication”, meaning that the UK and the EU should have mutually recognized “approvals, certificates and registrations” for those products approved prior to exit.
Furthermore, the UK proposed that “bodies should continue to fulfil any ongoing obligations for the product lifetime”, and “assessment bodies should continue to be recognized to fulfil any ongoing obligations”. The key takeaway is that the UK is seeking for the status quo during a transitional period, and seeking to align and continue deep cooperation once the final exit agreement is signed.
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