The Latest on Brexit Negotiations

07 March 2018

Carol Lynch, Partner at BDO Customs and International Trade, provides commentary on today's speech by Donald Tusk, European Council President.


Donald Tusk, European Council President, has unveiled draft guidelines for the EU negotiations on post-Brexit relations with the UK. The key confirmations were:

  • As the UK is leaving the Single Market and Customs Union, the only option for going forward is a Trade Agreement
  • The EU recommends a comprehensive and advanced Trade Agreement along the lines of the Canada Agreement
  • This will give the benefit of 0% tariffs for originating products but it will not give market access
  • There can be no cherry picking and the integrity of the Single Market needs to be maintained.

In a firm statement of the EU’s position he also said that “this will be the first FTA in history that loosens economic ties, instead of strengthening them. This agreement will not make trade between the UK and the EU frictionless or smoother. It will make it more complicated and costly... This is the essence of Brexit.”

Overall, this means therefore that trading with the UK will be similar to trading with Canada.

The published negotiations guideline paper, which forms the basis of Tusk’s speech, also puts pressure on the UK to sign up to a legal text that translates all of the commitments made by the UK in the first phase of negotiations, including avoiding a hard border. This will likely prove contentious in the coming weeks.

BDO Customs & International Trade Services can advise clients on the projects to be undertaken in order to ensure continuing trade with the UK.

We are recommending plans are put in place as soon as possible as we now know the scenario we are moving towards as per our article atttached.

For further information on how we can assist you, please contact Carol Lynch on +353 1 470 0491, clynch@bdo.ie or a member of the Brexit Taskforce team on +353 1 470 0420.