THE British car industry is bracing itself for a major blow even if a post-Brexit UK-EU trade deal is signed.
UK-made cars that include parts manufactured in Japan or Turkey will not be treated as British and will therefore face higher tariffs when exporting to EU markets, documents seen by the BBC suggest.
And it seems the issue simply isn't one the UK is willing to fight for either, with Britain's chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost writing that he'd so far failed to get the car parts deal he wants and "obviously cannot insist on it".
The news comes as the EU launched legal action against the UK over Boris Johnson's controversial Brexit divorce bill plans.
Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…
- Claudia Aoraha
IRELAND AND FRANCE BACK EU
The legal threat this morning by the EU Commission was immediately backed by Ireland and France, which said the clauses in the UK's plan must be removed for trust to be restored.
French Europe minister Clement Beaune also said Paris will refuse to ratify any trade deal while the controversial parts of the bill are still in place.
He said: “There's a Withdrawal Agreement which was signed, voted for by the Commons. It's impossible to call that into question.
“If that were to be the case we won't be able to ratify the agreement on our future relations with the UK, clearly.”
- Claudia Aoraha
'SUBMARINE' TALKS BETWEEN UK AND EU
Brussels have proposed intensive secret trade negotiations called “Le Submarine” – but Brits fear a trap on fishing.
The super secret talks would allow both sides to hammer a trade deal with the EU over the line without the constant public sniping that has dominated so far.
But UK negotiators are weary Brussels are trying to bounce Britain into last minute concessions or face being blamed for the “submarine talks” sinking.
- Claudia Aoraha
'A REMEDY IS NEEDED' SAYS MEP
Some Brexit commentators have downplayed today’s big announcement of legal action – pointing out the EU have not stopped trade deal negotiations.
But some politicians on the continent believe it’s absolutely vital the UK drops its plan to tear up parts of the withdrawal agreement.
Influential MEP Nathalie Loiseau – France’s former minister for European affairs – said: “Breaking international law has consequences … A remedy is needed before any future relationship can be agreed.”
- Claudia Aoraha
EU COMMISSION CHIEF MEETS IRISH PREMIER
Ursula von der Leyen said: “Good discussion with @MichealMartinTD on nextgenerationeu & ongoing negotiations with UK.
“We share the view that the protocol in Ireland / Northern Ireland is essential for maintaining peace and stability on the island of Ireland and protecting the integrity of the single market.”
- Claudia Aoraha
BREXIT CATCH-UP: WHAT'S HAPPENED TODAY?
- Legal proceedings against UK for breaking international law are set to be launched by the EU, according to the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
- £1.2 trillion in assets and 7500 finance jobs in the UK are going or have gone.
- Chemicals industry to pay extra £1bn in red tape to re-register products in UK after Brexit.
- Car industry on the brink after EU rejected vital plan to avoid export tariffs.
NIGEL FARAGE GIVES HIS OPINION
The former UKIP leader and current leader of the Brexit Party has weighed in after this morning's announcement from Brussels.
Nigel Farage tweeted: “We can never have a clean break Brexit with an EU treaty.
“After 4 years of agony the time has come to just leave.”
LORDS WILL VOTE AGAINST BREXIT BILL, SAYS LABOUR PEER
The House of Lords will reject the controversial Brexit bill, the leading Labour peer Baroness Helena Kennedy QC has claimed.
She said the legislation represents a “flagrant breach of international law.”
Asked if peers will seek to amend the legislation, she told the BBC: “Forget about amending it, we are going to be voting against it.”
She added: “This is Trumpism, this is what this is – which is you tear down the very things that have been built up in the rules-based world since the end of the Second World War. So the House of Lords … are all going to say ‘this is a step too far’.”
MORE FIRMS MOVE ASSETS OUT OF UK
Consultancy firm EY's report noted that as many as 24 financial services firms have said they will transfer assets out of the UK amid uncertainty about the nature of the City of London’s continued access to the EU.
For now, London still accounts most of US banks’ assets in Europe.
INTERNAL MARKETS BILL A 'BREACH OF GOOD FAITH OBLIGATIONS', SAYS EU
The government's Internal Markets Bill is a “breach of the UK's good faith obligations”, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said.
The comment came as the Commission announced it would be taking legal action against the UK over the bill, which would break international law if it ever came into force.
“We had invited our British friends to remove the problematic parts of their draft internal market bill, by the end of September,” von der Leyen said.
“This draft bill is, by its very nature, a breach of the obligation of good faith, laid down in the withdrawal agreement.
“Moreover, if adopted as is, it will be in full contradiction to the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.”
WHAT WILL CHANGE ON JANUARY 1 2021?
While some aspects of the UK and EU's relationship are still up in their air, here are some things that will change when we welcome in the new year.
- European trips will need more planning
- Duty-free shopping will return
- There will be new rules for EU citizens living in the UK
- There'll be a new immigration system
- Trade will be different, inside and outside the UK
- You'll stand in a different queue at border controls
HOME OFFICE'S ATTEMPTS TO STOP MIGRANTS CROSSING
The Home Office has “considered” creating a “wave machine” in the Channel to stop migrants in small boats making it to British shores, according to sources.
Officials have been urged to come up with “blue-sky” ideas – including creating a chain of small boats to form a barrier to keep migrants from making it across.
Home Secretary Priti Patel promised in August she would make the border route “unviable” but the number of people making the desperate journey has continued to rise during September.
BILL IS 'FULL OF CONTRADICTIONS' SAYS EU
In a brief statement this morning, Mrs von der Leyen said the bill was a “full contradiction” of previous UK commitments over how a hard border on the island of Ireland should be avoided.
European Commission President said the UK would have until the end of November to respond to the EU's concerns over the draft legislation.
GOV RESPONSE TO THE EU LEGAL ACTION
A government spokesperson said today: “We will respond to the letter in due course.
“We have clearly set out our reasons for introducing the measures related to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“We need to create a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market, ensure Ministers can always deliver on their obligations to Northern Ireland and protect the gains from the peace process.”
Government insiders said the legal threats were a common tool the EU regularly use against member states – and that last year alone there were 800 open cases.
BREAKING: EU LAUNCHES LEGAL ACTION
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the Commission will start legal action against Boris Johnson's bid to potentially override parts of the Brexit deal.
TWO-DAY SUMMIT IN BRUSSELS
Ms von der Leyen's statement today comes as Taoiseach Micheál Martin joins other EU leaders for a two-day summit in Brussels.
Mr Martin will address the summit tomorrow on the impact of the Brexit negotiations on Ireland, including the controversy over the Internal Market Bill.
A senior EU official said that because Ireland was the country most impacted by Brexit, the Taoiseach would be given the floor to address fellow leaders.
EU PRESIDENT TO MAKE STATEMENT TODAY
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will make a statement on Brexit at midday today, according to RTE news.
It is thought that legal action against the United Kingdom is imminent and that a draft “letter of formal notice” has been finalised, triggering legal action.
The letter of formal notice focuses on a breach of the “good faith” articles (4 & 5) of the Withdrawal Agreement, and it will also state that if the Internal Market Bill becomes law it would be further breach of EU + international law.
MICHAEL GOVE SAYS ‘WE CAN LEAVE’
Michael Gove attacked Brussels for its bad faith during Theresa May’s premiership when Britain tried to be accommodating in Brexit talks.
He said: “In the past with some of the negotiations we have had with the EU we bent over backwards to be accommodating and we didn’t get the benefit of the doubt as a result.
“Look if you are not going to talk turkey with us that’s fine, we can leave, we can say that’s it, no negotiated outcome we are ready come what may.”
BREXIT SHIFTS £1.2 TRILLION TO EU
Financial services firms have shifted about 7,500 employees and more than £1.2 trillion of assets to the European Union ahead of Brexit – with more likely to follow in coming weeks.
About 400 relocations were announced in the past month alone, according to consulting firm EY.
KEY PRIORITY REJECTED BY EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Chief negotiator Lord Frost said that one of their key priorities – that parts and components from Japan and Turkey count as British in any deal – has been rejected by the European Commission.
This means there is still a risk that some UK automotive production may have tariffs when exported to the EU, even if there is a “zero tariff” trade deal struck with the EU.
MAJOR BLOW TO CAR INDUSTRY
Britain's car industry could be at risk of losing out EVEN if there is a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
According to the BBC, car parts from Japan and Turkey used in the UK won't be treated as British.
This means some exports may see higher tariffs.
In a letter, Britain's chief Brexit negotiator says the UK has failed so far to get the car parts deal it wants, and “obviously cannot insist on it”.
TUCKERS MAY NEED PASS TO GET INTO KENT
Border chaos in the event of a No Deal scenario could mean truckers needing a pass to enter Kent.
Ministers warned the EU “time is running out” as Michael Gove unveiled measures to ease the pain of a hard Brexit.
The Kent Access Permit system could be enforced by cops or cameras monitoring number plates at points such as the Dartford Crossing, bringing freight from Essex.
A transition period of three years to allow fishing communities in Europe to adjust to a change in how much they can catch in British waters would be “about acceptable”, according to the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO).
According to reports, the UK has offered a fisheries adjustment period as part of a concession in the post-Brexit trade talks with the European Union in a bid to secure a deal.
Chief executive Barrie Deas told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think three years is about acceptable, within this context, as long as we see movement in equal steps.
“Anything longer, I think, would be a stretch.”
Taoiseach Micheal Martin will share his assessment of Brexit developments with other European leaders later.
He has previously said the Irish Government was preparing its latest Budget on the basis of a no-deal Brexit.
He recently told the UK Liberal Democrats’ conference that he was “not that optimistic” of a future free trade agreement being reached between the UK and the EU.
Mr Martin said: “I look forward to joining colleagues in Brussels this week. When we met in July, we agreed an unprecedented 1.8 trillion euros package to support Europe’s economic recovery.”
Ireland has dropped talk of a No Deal and now insists there is a good chance a trade pact can be done.
Its foreign minister Simon Coveney said overcoming the obstacles was “very doable”.
He played down Boris Johnson’s move to overwrite parts of last year’s Brexit deal in a softening of Dublin’s attacks on No 10.
Mr Coveney added the PM’s concerns would “become irrelevant” once a deal was done. He said: “The incentive is there. We know what the outstanding issues are and they are not insurmountable.”
BRITAIN WILL WORK ALONGSIDE TRUMP OR BIDEN FOR US TRADE DEAL
Britain will work alongside Donald Trump or Joe Biden in order to clinch a U.S trade deal, trade minister Liz Truss said on Wednesday.
Ms Truss declined to comment directly on a chaotic first U.S presidential debate.
“We're working with both parties in the United States, both the Democrats and the Republicans. There is strong support for a trade deal with the UK,” Truss told ITV in an interview, adding she had not watched the first debate between Trump and Biden and would not comment on it.
“I will work with whoever is in the White House… It is not our job as ministers in the UK to intervene in foreign politics. Our job is to bat for British interests.”
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