Today, the UK Government released the fourth batch of technical notices about the impact of a “no deal” scenario at the end of March 2019. These are available here. This fourth batch is of 29 and includes notices on trading electricity, trading gas, existing free trade agreements, commercial fishing and consumer rights.

As explained in our blog post on the first batch of technical notices (see here), the UK’s notes contain information on what the UK Government plans to do, unilaterally, to assist affected businesses and individuals through temporary waivers and derogations. For example, in this latest release:

  • in trading electricity the Government confirms that the UK and the EU would need to agree the new access rules on trade but reiterates that it will not change the domestic approval process or the requirements for access rules in the UK until such further agreement is reached. In relation to REMIT, market participants will need to register with an EU regulatory authority and resort to the alternative arrangements available for cross-border trade on power, yet the Government reiterates that it intends to keep the majority of REMIT domestically with minor changes. It also ensures to lay statutory instruments that guarantee UK energy laws’ continuous operation on day one in a ‘no deal’ scenario. Ofgem and the Utility Regulator of Northern Ireland will publish guidance on the changes expected to occur in relation to domestic industry codes. If no agreement is in place on the continuity of the Single Electricity Market between Ireland and Northern Ireland in a ‘no deal’ situation, the market will have to be split. Contingency planning to establish a separate Northern Ireland market is being considered.
  • in existing free trade agreements with countries outside the EU, it will seek to establish bilateral UK-third country agreements from exit day onwards with the new agreements replicating existing ones and same preferential effects for third countries as far as possible. If no arrangements to maintain particular preferences in a ‘no deal’ scenario are in place, trade will be conducted under the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) principle until new agreements are brought to life. The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to establish a unilateral trade preference scheme for developing countries once it leaves the EU which will maintain the tariff-free access for Least Developed Countries and provide tariff reductions to around 25 developing countries.