Brexit International Agreements


In order to identify relevant agreements, we worked with international partners to understand which agreements of mutual interest are influenced by the withdrawal. The Government has worked with international partners to create succession agreements or take steps to accede to multilateral agreements, in order to ensure continuity, where appropriate, to ensure security and to avoid disruption to businesses and citizens. These succession regimes would enter into force after withdrawal from the EU, on the first day or shortly thereafter, in a no-deal scenario or at the end of an implementation period, if agreed. In carrying out this work, we have been open and transparent with the EU and will continue to do so, in line with our obligations as a Member State. These rules are set out in the Protocol on Northern Ireland as part of the binding Withdrawal Agreement which governs the terms of divorce between the UK and the EU and which has the force of an international treaty. Updated, as the EU has informed countries with which it has concluded trade agreements that EU trade agreements can continue to apply to the UK during the transition period. The Government`s March 7 update, which detailed 158 international agreements in different policy areas it covers, showed that commitment to the agreements continues in a wide range of areas. These include customs cooperation, fisheries, biological equivalence, justice and home affairs and wider political cooperation. Most air services agreements had been concluded, as well as nuclear cooperation and safeguards agreements.

However, certain agreements do not exist by the date of withdrawal, including certain political agreements, judicial cooperation agreements with the EFTA States, a veterinary equivalence agreement with the United States and several forestry and other agreements on the environment. The UK government has acknowledged that the overhaul of its EU divorce treaty “breaks international law in a very specific and limited way”. The EU has warned that this measure could have serious consequences. A government document leaked Feb. 12 in The Sun said eight deals (including with Canada, South Korea and EEA countries) were “out of the question” that were to be delivered by March 29. Other agreements, notably with the Andean Community, Mexico, Ukraine, the North and West African Balkans, are “clearly aberrant”, while it has been said that an agreement will be concluded before March 29 with Algeria, Turkey, Japan and Moldova will not be possible. The government is aiming for continuity agreements or a “rollover” of all EU trade agreements and other preferential trade agreements with third countries. This will make it possible to replicate agreements with third countries to which the UK is currently a party as an EU Member State into agreements between the UK and third countries in the event of the UK`s withdrawal. This would not prevent a more comprehensive review of these agreements in the long term in order to create more individual regulation.

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