Answer to Written Question: EU-UK distribution and value chains
(Source: European Parliament)
Answer given by Mr Gentiloni
on behalf of the European Commission
After the choice made by the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the EU, the Single Market and the Customs Union and before the end of the transition period, the Commission has done as much as possible to ensure that EU traders were sufficiently prepared for the challenges in EU-UK distribution chains. These are not due to the application of the rules of origin which are inherent to any free trade agreement.
Since January 2018, the Commission has been issuing notices to inform all stakeholders about the changes resulting from the UK’s departure from the EU. Since 1 January 2021, the Commission has also produced numerous guidance documents on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) rules of origin and on the specific case of use of UK distribution centres for supplying the EU market. These documents have been very well received both by Member States customs authorities and by EU traders. The Commission would like to extend its gratitude for the hard work carried out by the Irish authorities for assisting the industry in preparing for the inevitable changes. The Commission would like to reconfirm its commitment to engage with all stakeholders involved on this issue.
The EU has adopted under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 a new special instrument, the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, which can support national actions mitigating the effects of the withdrawal of the UK in the most affected sectors. In addition, under the Next Generation EU programme and the corresponding increase of MFF budgetary lines, Member States are invited to propose a national action plan ensuring the recovery of their economies and increase resilience. Support for relocation of major distribution operators could be considered under one or both of those instruments.