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UK will remain global leader for asset management after Brexit: Sunak

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British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak (pictured) said on Tuesday (24 November) that he was determined that the United Kingdom would remain a global leader for asset management after Brexit, writes William Schomberg.

“We’re beginning a new relationship with the EU. And as we do so, we are determined that the UK will remain a global leader for asset management,” Sunak said in comments to a conference organized by The Investment Association, an industry group.

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Scottish fishermen land fish in Denmark to avoid post-Brexit red tape

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Scottish fishermen have increasingly turned to fish auctions in Denmark in the first two weeks of the year to avoid having their deliveries to the European Union blocked by post-Brexit red tape, writes .

A fish auction in Hanstholm on Denmark’s west coast has so far this year sold 525 tonnes of fish from Scottish fishing vessels, more than double compared to the same period last year.

“We’ve had an awful lot of inquiries from Scottish fishermen about landing their catch in Hanstholm,” Jesper Kongsted, who heads the auction, told Reuters on Friday (16 January). “This is very good for our business.”

Some Scottish fishing companies say they face ruin, as several EU countries rejected UK exports after new customs demands delayed the arrival of their fresh produce.

As a result, prices at fish auctions in Scotland plummeted at the beginning of the year. Kongsted said two Scottish brothers had earned an extra 300,000 Danish crowns ($48,788) by selling 22 tonnes of hake in Hanstholm rather than at an auction in Peterhead in Scotland.

“Our industry is facing mounting financial losses. Many fishing vessels are tied to the quay wall,” Elspeth Macdonald, head of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday.

“Some are now making a 72-hour round trip to land fish in Denmark, as the only way to guarantee that their catch will make a fair price and actually find its way to market while still fresh enough to meet customer demands,” Macdonald said.

The introduction of health certificates, customs declarations and checks since Britain left the EU’s single market at the start of this year have hit delivery systems at some fishing companies.

This week, some Scottish fishermen threatened to dump rotten shellfish outside the British parliament in London.

($1 = 6.1490 Danish crowns)

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UK can overcome post-Brexit fishing 'teething' woes, minister says

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Britain believes it can resolve the post-Brexit “teething issues” that have prevented Scottish fishermen from exporting goods to the European Union because of customs delays, Food and Environment Minister George Eustice (pictured) said, write Kate Holton and Paul Sandle.

Some EU importers have rejected truck loads of Scottish fish since Jan. 1 after the need for catch certificates, health checks and export declarations meant they had taken too long to arrive, angering fishermen who are facing financial ruin if the trade cannot be resumed.

Eustice told parliament his staff had held meetings with Dutch, French and Irish officials to try to “iron out some of these teething problems”.

“They are only teething problems,” he said. “When people get used to using the paperwork goods will flow.”

Eustice said with no grace period to introduce the rules, the industry was having to adapt to them in real time, dealing with such issues as what colour of ink can be used to fill in forms. He added that while the government was considering compensation for sectors hit by the post-Brexit changes, he was now focusing on fixing the delays for fishermen.

Logistics providers, which are now struggling to deliver goods in a timely manner, have said the change to life outside the single market and customs union is much more significant and while delivery times can improve, it will now cost more and take longer to export.

To get fresh produce to EU markets, logistics providers now have to summarise the load, giving commodity codes, product types, gross weight, the number of boxes and value, plus other details. Errors can mean longer delays, hitting French importers that have also been hit by the red tape.

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New EU-UK agreement is welcome but thorough scrutiny remains, insist lead MEPs 

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Foreign Affairs and Trade MEPs welcome the new EU-UK agreement as a good deal but demand proper parliamentary scrutiny powers and thorough access to information.

This morning (14 January), members on the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committees held a first joint meeting on the new EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement, intensifying the parliamentary scrutiny process of the deal reached by EU and British negotiators on 24 December.

MEPs welcomed the agreement as a good solution, albeit thin. A no-deal would have brought a disaster for citizens and companies on both sides, speakers emphasized. At the same time, they stressed that the parliamentary scrutiny of this deal must go beyond mere ratification, insisting on thorough access to information and a clear role for Parliament in the implementation and future monitoring of the agreement.

In addition, members also highlighted the importance of fostering a close dialogue between the European Parliament and Westminster on future EU-UK relations.

They regretted that many aspects, including the Erasmus programme, foreign policy, security and defence cooperation, were not included in the negotiations on the future partnership. Some expressed concern about the future for environmental standards, as the new UK emissions trading system has only been in place since 1 January without clarity on how to link it up with the EU one.

For all statements and interventions, you can watch the meeting again here.

Rapporteurs’ remarks

Kati Piri (AFET, S&D, NL) said: “Parliament’s red lines will continue to be central in the scrutiny process. I welcome the fact that the EU managed to secure a single, clear governance framework. This will allow EU and British citizens, consumers and businesses legal certainty about the applicable rules and will ensure robust compliance guarantees by the parties.

“At the same time, it is also important to be frank: we did not want or choose Brexit. So it is with regret and sadness that we acknowledge that this was the democratic choice of the British people. And sadly, the agreement itself falls far short of the Political Declaration that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself signed just months prior to the negotiations.”

Christophe Hansen (INTA, EPP, LU) said: “It is a very thin agreement. But I welcome the fact that there are no quotas and tariffs, and with that we avoided falling back to WTO rules that would have hurt a lot of our sectors, including agriculture and cars.

“I regret very much that the UK decided not to take part in Erasmus. This jeopardizes the future for 170,000 Europeans in the UK and 100,000 UK students in the EU. I also regret that future Geographical Indications are not covered, which is contrary to the Political Declaration.

“I would have liked that services were reflected somewhat broader in the agreement. Nevertheless, regulatory co-operation on financial services will be negotiated until March.

“It is important not to let the consent drag on forever. Provisional application is not the legal security that businesses and citizens deserve after all these years.”

Next steps

The two committees will in due course vote on the consent proposal prepared by the two standing rapporteurs to allow for a plenary vote before the end of the provisional application of the agreement.

In addition to the plenary vote, Parliament will also vote on an accompanying resolution prepared by the political groups in the UK Co-ordination Group and the Conference of Presidents.

Background

The new Trade and Co-operation agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. For it to enter into force permanently, it requires the consent of the Parliament. Parliament has repeatedly expressed that it considers the current provisional application to be the result of a set of unique circumstances and an exercise not to be repeated.

MEPs on the International Trade Committee held a first meeting on the new EU-UK deal on Monday 11 January, during which they promised thorough scrutiny of the agreement. Read more here.

More information 

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