The Government has published the draft legal texts for the EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations; these were previously been shared with the EU negotiating team. These texts set it in legal terms texts reflecting the UK mandate for the negotiations which was published on 27 February and set out the UK’s approach to negotiations. These legal texts have been used in discussions with the EU to underpin the proposals set out in that mandate document.
The publication (available here) includes twelve documents covering the full set of negotiating texts – including a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement as well as side agreements. The UK mandate had proposed a chemicals annex through which the UK and the EU could agree data and information sharing mechanisms, including an MoU to enhance cooperation with ECHA – the relevant text is found in the Draft UK-EU CFTA annexes (from p.68). Read more on chemicals regulation here and on classification and labelling issues here.
The third round of EU-UK trade talks concluded a few days ago with the EU blaming the UK for a lack of progress. The next round begins on 1 June as both parties approach the end-of-month deadline for deciding on whether to extend the transition period, currently expected to end on 31 December. However, despite the delays and impacts caused by the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis, the UK has so far ruled out lengthening the transition period. The word on the street is that the Government will stick to this position.