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UK – EU Withdrawal Agreement

On 24 January 2020, following the Royal Assent given for the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has signed the Withdrawal Agreement – formerly known as “The Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community“.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:

The signing of the Withdrawal Agreement is a fantastic moment, which finally delivers the result of the 2016 referendum and brings to an end far too many years of argument and division.

We can now move forward as one country – with a Government focused upon delivering better public services, greater opportunity and unleashing the potential of every corner of our brilliant United Kingdom, while building a strong new relationship with the EU as friends and sovereign equals.

In Brussels, EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also signed the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Withdrawal Agreement is an international treaty between the UK and the EU.

The EU Parliament will hold a vote on the agreement on 29 January. Once the EU Parliament has given its consent, the Council will adopt, by written procedure, the decision on the conclusion of the agreement on behalf of the EU.

A copy of the agreement, as published in the The Official Journal of the European Union Volume 62, 12 November 2019 is available from

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:C:2019:384I:FULL&from=EN
and a local copy is available

Official Journal of the European Union C 384 I (pdf)

Further information is available on the UK Government website at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Royal Assent

The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill was passed to the House of Lords following its journey through the House of Commons.

The first Reading, in the House of Lords, was held on 9 January 2020, with the 2nd Reading on 13 January 2020. The Committee Stage was held on the 14-16 January 2020 during which numerous amendments were considered. The Report Stage was held over 20 and 21 January 2020 and the Bill was returned to the House of Commons with a number of suggested amendments.

The Bill entered its “Ping-Pong” stage. This is when the bill is sent back and forth between the House of Commons and the House of Lords as they try to resolve disagreements about the final text of the Bill.

The Government had previously indicated that they would reject any amendments to the Bill and this proved to be the case. Because the Government has a large majority, votes rejected the suggested 5 amendments and the Bill was returned to the House of Lords.

The Lords withdrew their amendments and the Bill proceeded to Royal Assent.

All the different stages of the Bill can be found at

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Stages

All Documents and details of the debates held can be found at

Bill documents — European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20

Royal Assent to the Bill, which enshrines in law that the UK will leave the EU on Friday 31 January 2020, was granted with little fanfare and announced, on the 23 January 2020 in the House of Commons by the Deputy Speaker

I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that Her Majesty has signified her assent to the following Act:

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.

After the turmoil of almost 4 years since the EU Referendum was held, 2 General Elections and 3 different Prime Ministers the announcement was an anti-climax.

The UK will leave the EU at 11:00pm GMT on 31 January 2020 and enter a “transition period”, where effectively nothing changes, until 31 December 2020 (unless the period is extended). The period is supposed to minimise any disruption caused by the UK leaving the EU and the time will be used to determine the future relationship (including Trade) between the UK and the EU. It is hoped to agree a future Trade relationship during this time.

UK overseas trade in goods, November 2019

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HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) collects the UK’s international trade in goods data for Non-EU and EU trade with the UK. These are published on a monthly basis and figures for November 2019 have recently been released. (13 January 2020).

UK overseas trade in goods statistics: November 2019

A summary is provided in a document available at

UK Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics Commentary: November 2019

Summary

Total exports of goods for November 2019 were £30.0 billion.

Total imports of goods for November 2019 were £43.9 billion.

The UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £13.9 billion.

For EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £7.8 billion.

For Non-EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £6.1 billion.


Imports to the UK

EU Imports for November 2019 were £21.1 billion.

Non-EU Imports for November 2019 were £22.8 billion.

Germany accounted for 11.8% (£5.2bn) of the total value of imports to the UK. The USA had the second largest proportion of the total value of trade, accounting for 9.8% (£4.3bn) followed by China 9.1% (£4.0bn), the Netherlands 7.7% (£3.4bn) and France 5.3% (2.3bn). The top five partner countries accounted for 43.7% of total UK import value this month.


Exports from the UK

EU Exports for November 2019 were £13.3 billion

Non-EU Exports for November 2019 were £16.7 billion.

The USA accounted for 15.6% (£4.7bn) per cent of the total value of goods exports from the UK. Germany had the second largest proportion, accounting for 10.0% (£3.0bn), followed by China with 8.0% (£2.4bn), France with 6.3% (£1.9bn), and the Netherlands at 6.3% (£1.9bn). The top five export partners accounted for 46.2% of total exports in goods this month.


Spreadsheets are available which show the figures in more detail.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics November 2019: import and export data

The following tables contain EU and Non-EU import and export data for November 2019.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics November 2019: imports

UK overseas trade in goods statistics November 2019: exports

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill update 09 January 2020

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill has continued its path through the House of Commons to a conclusion and has been passed on to the House of Lords for the next stage.

The Committee Stage of the Bill was completed after 2 days of debate on Tuesday and Wednesday 7-8 January 2020.

The selected amendments that were put to a vote were all won by the Government.

The Report Stage and Third Reading of the Bill were held on Thursday 9 January 2020. Following debate, and after a vote, the Third Reading of the Bill was passed by 330 votes in favour and 231 against.

The Bill has completed its passage through the House of Commons and has been sent to the House of Lords for scrutiny with the Second Reading stage starting on Monday 13 Jan 2020. The Bill is expected to complete its journey through the House of Lords by 22 Jan 2020.

Bill as introduced in the House of Lords(Copy pdf)

Explanatory Notes – (Copy pdf)

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill has started it’s journey through Parliament. The First Reading was held on Thursday 19 December following the State Opening of Parliament after the Queens Speech.

Details of the Bill and its progress can be found on Parliament’s website at

https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2019-20/europeanunionwithdrawalagreement.html

and a copy of the Bill is available at

Bill 001 2019-20 (as introduced) (pdf)

or

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Dec 2019 (pdf)

Explanatory notes can be found at

https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2019-20/europeanunionwithdrawalagreement/documents.html

or in the attached document

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Dec 2019 Explanatory Notes (pdf)

In summary, the Bill is to implement, and make other provision in connection with, the agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Second Reading of the Bill was held on 20 December 2019. None of the proposed amendments were selected for debate.

The debate started at 9:40 am and continued until 2:14 pm when a vote was held.

The Second Reading of the Bill was passed by 358 votes in favour with 234 votes against.

In a breakdown of the figures (provided in Hansard)

For:

Conservative: 353

Labour: 6

Against:

Alliance: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 7
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
Labour: 162
Liberal Democrat: 11
Plaid Cymru: 4
Scottish National Party: 45
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2

In a second vote ( on a motion which defines the future program for the passage of the Bill through Parliament) the vote was 353 votes in favour and 243 against.

This sets out the timetable for the Bill to proceed to the Committee Stage and to have a total of 16 hours allowed for debate over 2 days before proceeding to the Third Reading. The next day for debate is scheduled for 7 January 2020 following the MPs Christmas break.

The Bill has now been referred to a Committee of the Whole House starting on 7 January 2020. Proceedings will continue on the Bill on 8 January 2020 and will conclude with remaining stages on Thursday 9 January 2020.

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