Trade In Services and Investment


What will happen as from 1 January 2021 regarding trade in services and investment?

As from January 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) will not benefit from the internal market, particularly from the free movement in people, the free provision of services and the freedom of establishment. Hence, British service providers will automatically lose their right to offer services throughout the European Union (EU). To continue operating, they may need to set up an establishment in the EU. At any event, they must comply with the regulations in each of its Member States, and they will not benefit from the principle of country of origin or from the EU passport, under which the authorisation of a single Member State under EU legislation provides access to the Single Market.

What is the scope of the agreement on the trade in services and investment?

This covers a large number of sectors, including professional and business services, such as legal services, telecommunications services, financial services, transport services and environmental services. It also applies to investments in manufacturing industry, agriculture, fishing, energy and other primary industries. As is the case for any other free trade agreement, this excludes public services, general interest services and audio-visual services, among others.

Under what conditions may service providers of the two parties continue to operate?

The agreement contains a series of non-discriminatory obligations which guarantee that EU service and investment providers will not be treated under less favourable conditions than UK operators in the United Kingdom, and vice versa. This thus offers more favourable treatment than other third country providers that do not enjoy similar undertakings. In reality, market access will depend on the way the services are provided and the specific reservations that are listed for each sector in the services and investment heading of the annexes (from ANNEX SERVIN-1 to ANNEX SERVIN-6).

How will highly qualified professionals continue to travel between the EU and the UK?

The UK will not allow the free movement of EU citizens in the United Kingdom. The agreement only includes certain commitments on the temporary movement of highly qualified people (method 4). Specifically, intra-business transfers will be facilitated under certain conditions for three years while maintaining EU intra-mobility. Commitments are also contained under certain conditions for contractual service providers and independent professionals. Business visits by citizens that de not provide services will be permitted for certain activities for short-stay periods.

Will EU lawyers be able to provide legal services in the UK?

EU lawyers may provide advisory services on international law and on country rights in the UK where they are authorised to this end by their qualifications.

Non official translation

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