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Committee reports on 2021 EU budget and the removal of lobster tariffs

14 October 2020

In its latest report, the European Scrutiny Committee considers recent draft EU legislation and policy documents deposited in Parliament by the Government.

Each document is accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum from the relevant Minister. The Committee examines the legal and political importance of the document and where appropriate asks further questions of the Government about its implications. The Committee also has the power to recommend documents for debate.

In its latest report the Committee highlights the importance of several documents, and how it intends to follow up with Government. These include:

HMT – EU budget 2021: possible financial implications for the UK

Important because:

  • This document sets out the EU’s 2021 spending proposals, which would determine how much its aim of continued participation in various EU programmes would cost the UK. Negotiations on how to calculate this contribution are ongoing.

In correspondence with the Committee, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay MP reiterates the Government position that the Brexit financial settlement does not leave the UK liable for new EU spending beyond 1 January 2021, but does not detail how the 2021 EU budget might affect this; should the UK secure continued participation in EU programmes such as Horizon Europe, Euratom, Copernicus, PEACE PLUS and Erasmus+.

The Committee will continue to monitor developments in this area, given their considerable importance for the UK.

DIT – EU/US mini-tariff deal

Important because:

  • This proposed Regulation concerns the import of lobster products, the UK tariff on which may be higher than the EU’s when the post-exit transition period ends on 31 December. There are also implications relating to the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

As part of an agreement announced in August, the EU has removed tariffs on four types of lobster products exported to the bloc by the US, in exchange for the US halving tariffs on various EU products.

In correspondence with the Committee, Minister for Trade Policy Greg Hands MP confirms the UK is bound by the terms of the agreement until the end of the post-exit transition period, whereupon the UK’s own higher tariff will be enforced. The exception to this is Northern Ireland, which under the terms of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol will remain subject to EU customs laws and duties for so-called ‘at risk goods.’

The Committee has written to the Minister asking how likely it is that a similar deal eliminating tariffs on lobster products can be struck before the end of the year, and further information on the legal basis for applying this Regulation in Northern Ireland at the end of the transition period.

Further information

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