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Brexit Update: is this Crunch Point?

Posted on: 17/11/2020

Brexit Update 16 November 2020 by Camilla Call, Brexit Advisor

With the UK-EU deal becoming ever more elusive and deadlines having come and gone, we are being told that this really is the last week in order to secure an agreement. The contentious UK Internal Market Bill continues its passage through the House of Lords where there’ll be a vote on amendments related to its powers to police and maintain the UK’s internal market. Business Secretary Alok Sharma urges businesses to consider Intellectual Property matters which will change on 1 January. The Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched an Export Academy which would benefit small and micro businesses in the South West who are new to international trade or considering exporting to new markets.

19 November is now viewed as the final deadline to secure a deal and according to a senior EU diplomat “If there isn’t good news by then, then you really have to say that time is up – it just isn’t possible” (Guardian 11 November). Regarding the level playing field, while there is reportedly some progress on domestic subsidy regimes, it remains difficult to agree on how to develop environmental, labour and social standards equally on both sides. A UK source said “What we can’t agree to are arrangements which would require us to operate systems of laws equivalent to the EU’s and make us pay a penalty if we moved away from them. We need policy space to decide what is in the UK’s interest in the future. That is the very essence of what Brexit is about.

Simon Coveney, Irish Foreign Minister, provided a stark reminder on 16 November (Reuters) that “We really are in the last week to 10 days of this, if there is not a major breakthrough over the next week to 10 days then I think we really are in trouble and the focus will shift to preparing for a no trade deal and all the disruption that that brings.” The contentious issues of the level-playing field and fisheries remain and while the UK says a deal must respect its sovereignty, the EU says its proximity to the bloc means a Canada style agreement is not viable.

Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, has reached out to businesses on the subject of Intellectual Property rules. In just 49 days (at the time of publish) there will be changes to how the Intellectual Property (IP) system and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will operate. These changes will affect:

You can find out more information about all of these changes in this news story from the IPO.

Help is available to ensure your business is ready. I urge you to:

  • Consider carefully where to disclose your designs to ensure they have adequate protection in their most important market;
  • If you export IP-protected goods on the secondary or parallel market, contact the rights holder in the EEA to see if you have permission to continue to parallel export.
  • Consider if you want exports to continue if you are a business that owns the IP rights for goods currently parallel exported from the UK to the EEA.

If you do not take action, there is a risk your business operations will be interrupted. You can find out what other actions you may need to take by using the checker tool at and signing up for business readiness updates.

I know this is a tough time for many businesses as we continue to face the challenges posed by coronavirus. I want to take the opportunity to thank you for all you are doing to combat those challenges and in helping to ensure a smooth end to the transition period. The Government is determined to help you take advantage of the new opportunities that being an independent trading nation will bring.


The Department for International Trade (DIT) – Export Academy

If you’re a small or micro-business in the South West, with a turnover of up to £500,000, you could benefit from this new initiative to help you to sell to customers around the world with confidence. This free academy is applicable to businesses brand new to exporting or exporting to new markets and will help overcome many of the common challenges.

More info and how to apply here


Dorset Chamber delivers a free of charge Brexit advice service to all businesses, funded by BCP Council and Dorset Council. For information and advice please contact us at [email protected] / 01202 714800 or visit




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