Following the EU trade deal reached in December 2020, the construction industry is relieved that the worry of tariffs and quotas has apparently been avoided. The agreement secures a continuation of rules of origin, where bilateral recognition of assembly means UK inputs and processing into EU products and materials will be recognised.
James Butcher, Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit working group chair, said: “Mutual co-operation in respect of reducing technical trade barriers and at the border will also undoubtedly help to avoid some of the risks of delay and disruption. What this means is that we will not see the inflationary shock of tariff and quota introductions or the expected currency depreciation associated with a no-deal.”
The National Federation of Builders agreed that the deal ensures that complex product supply chains will not become burdensome or costly through technical and regulatory barriers.
The UK and the EU have also agreed trusted trader schemes and customs co-operation to aid the exchange of import and export information and roll-on-roll-off flow at ports. Builders Merchants Federation chief executive John Newcomb said: “We now have the assurance of the continued free flow of materials needed to fulfil the government’s promise to build back better, improve the energy efficiency of our homes and create the many thousands of jobs required to do so.”
A mutual agreement over VAT and debt recovery was reached. Progress on migrant workers was also made, with the UK and EU agreeing on a framework for mutual recognition of professional standards and qualifications. However, they were unable to agree mutual recognition of conformity assessments, so UK bodies will not be able to certify products to EU standards and vice versa.