The effects and uncertainty of COVID is creating a parallel issue for UK businesses, who are already trying to navigate the shifting landscape of a post-Brexit trading environment.
On Monday we learned that the coronavirus alert level should move to 4, transmission is ‘high or rising exponentially’, as the Prime Minister announed new lockdown rules in the commons on Tuesday.
At a time of extreme insecurity, both for our personal health, and the health of our businesses, it is critical that we complete Brexit preparations, so that supply chains operate efficiently through a prolonged pandemic and the 1stJanuary 2021.
As for politics, the Internal Market bill is unlikely to make it through the House of Lords, so expect a painful back and forth over many weeks, that will dominate parliamentary time, effort and political oxygen, while the government is trying to deal with another big crisis.
With even the most ardent Brexiteers suspicious of the government’s tactics, Boris continues to bang pots, crash conventions and create noise in the hope that bravado will get a deal over the line.
There is no denying that this is an uncomfortable moment – a strategy that could be worth it, if it shows the EU a seriousness of intent – but it remains unclear that the outcome will be worth the risk.
Meanwhile in Europe, The EU and UK have agreed to hold trade talks in Brussels next Monday as the two sides desperately try to find a way through the latest controversy, threatening to derail a Brexit deal.
The move flies in the face of some, namely France, who went so far as to suggest that Mr Sefcovic refused to meet the UK delegation until the offending clauses were withdrawn from the Internal Market Bill.
So next Monday’s meeting represents a major snub to French President Macron, who has been pushing hard for Eurocrats to open legal proceedings against Britain over an alleged breach of the divorce treaty.
Hardliners in Paris were quickly warned to be more cautious, because a hearing in the European Court of Justice could easily trigger a collapse in post-Brexit trade talks.
Now no-one would want that, would they?
Metro’s ‘Brexit Ready’ web portal has been designed to prepare your business for the 1st January 2021
For further information on Metro’s brokerage services, please contact Grant Liddell or Chris Carlile who are leading our 2021 EU withdrawal Task Team.