The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has said that she will run a ‘geopolitical Commission’. At the heart of that geopolitical ambition is trade. Rising trade tensions have been a feature of global politics in recent years, resulting in increased complexity and risk for business. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and the negotiations this year on the future trading relationship, will also be of crucial importance to firms on both sides of the Channel.

FIPRA can help companies and business associations navigate this complex and uncertain political environment. Our team of senior advisers includes former trade negotiators from the EU, US and other major trading countries. In addition, our global network enables us to provide insights, analysis, and government engagement capability on both sides of any trade negotiation or dispute.

In addition to multilateral challenges such as WTO reform, we match our trade expertise with deep sectoral insights to support clients across a broad range of trade-related questions, including digital trade (data flows, digital taxation, and AI regulation) and the linkage between environment and trade (such as carbon border adjustment).

We also advise investors on emerging rules and approaches to foreign direct investment, competition and industrial policy, and security-related trade matters. We have experience working on anti-dumping cases and customs disputes, including in partnership with law firms.

BREXIT

Despite having formally left the European Union, the UK currently remains within the EU single market and customs union and subject to all EU rules and regulations, but only until the end of the post-Brexit transition period at the end of 2020.  

To date, progress in the ongoing negotiations between the UK and EU for a new, comprehensive trade agreement has been limited.  With the UK having formally ruled out any extension to the negotiations beyond the end of this year, recently there has been agreement to intensify the pace of the talks in July, in the hope of making significant progress by the autumn.  There can however be no certainty of an agreement being reached in time for formal ratification by year end.  

Whether an agreement is reached or not – possibly with some short-term mitigation measures put in place for particular sectors in the event of the latter scenario – the outcome is likely to have major consequences for many businesses.  

We are able to provide a tailored service to clients through our work with the EU institutions, as well as to work closely with our UK partners within the FIPRA Network, Lexington Communications.  This can be further supplemented with the involvement of our FIPRA Network partners in each of the 27 EU Member States as needed.

Case Study

Assisting clients with customs regulatory procedures

Trade is in a turmoil. The relative apparent stability of the first decade of this century has been replaced with widespread uncertainty over the framework for global trade and productive investment. FIPRA helps clients to both ride out the current storm and to make their voice heard in shaping a more resilient future for innovation and enterprise.

Robert Madelin
Robert Madelin
Head of Trade & Investment Practice
+32 2 613 2828

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