27 Jan
brexit channel

Spain will set up the Brexit Channel

The State Secretary for Trade and ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones, [Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade], together with the Chamber of Commerce of Spain and the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (Spanish acronym: CEOE), organised a webinar to report on the main elements of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement governing trade relations between the UK and the European Union (EU) as from 1 January 2021.

This is the first action in a campaign that encompasses various training days that will look more closely at the implications of the agreement on the trade of goods, services, investment and public procurement.

The meeting, which involved 700 participants, was inaugurated by Xiana Méndez, State Secretary for Foreign Trade, along with Antonio Fernández-Martos, Head of the Economic Affairs Unit of the European Commission’s UK Task Force and one of the main negotiators of the trade aspects of the agreement, and Álvaro Nadal, Head of Spain’s Economic and Trade Office at its embassy in London and an expert in the British market.

Action Plan

Xiana Méndez pointed out that “this webinar is framed within the Action Plan of this State Secretariat to inform and support Spanish companies in the task of adapting to the new situation of the British market – a preferential trading partner for Spain due to its geographic proximity, economic interdependence and high level of productivity ties after 45 years of common membership of the EU”.

In this regard, the State Secretary for Trade announced the creation of the ‘Brexit Channel’ – a forum for collaboration between the main business associations and public authorities, to analyse the evolution of trade exchanges in the first few months of application of the agreement and to seek joint solutions should there be any incidents.

This webinar is in addition to the 100 training sessions held since the end of 2018 throughout Spain and set in motion by the State Secretary for Trade in order to inform companies on the consequences of Brexit and thus address the changes in the new trading relations.

For his part, the European Commission representative, Antonio Fernández-Martos, highlighted that “although the agreement reached between the EU and the UK is a very good result, in no way will the level of economic integration that existed when the UK was an EU Member State exist, which will have inevitable consequences and require operators to adapt their modus operandi to deal with the new market”.

“The UK is and will continue to be a valuable and safe market”, indicated Álvaro Nadal. “We can and must maintain our high level of trade and investment with the country, and even increase it”.

To facilitate this work by companies, the State Secretariat for Trade has set up a specific section on its web page  which includes all the useful information on the agreement and guides on how to access the UK market, as well as the customs procedures to follow, which have been drawn up by the Spanish Economic and Trade Office in London.

Furthermore, through the ICEX, Spanish companies have an advisory service on internationalisation through the ‘Global Window’ and tailored services to identify partners or other needs that companies may have in the UK thanks to the ‘Brexit Cheque’.

New relations since 1 January 202

As from 1 January 2021, the UK is no longer a member of the EU Customs Union and the Single Market, and has become a third country for all effects regarding the trade in goods and services.

On 24 December 2020, the European Commission and the UK reached a political agreement on the conditions for future relations as from 1 January 2021. The conditions agreed are not equivalent to the conditions that Member States enjoy and result in the emergence of formalities for trade exchanges.

By: Estela Martín

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