On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Content on the site is being monitored to reflect this and the changes.
Northern Ireland has left the European Union single market in services on 1 January 2021 together with the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK single market in services. The Northern Ireland Protocol which provides for special treatment for trade in goods in Northern Ireland does not apply to services. The European Union and the United Kingdom have now reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement covers professional and business services (e.g. legal, auditing, architectural services), delivery and telecommunication services, computer-related and digital services, financial services, research and development services, most transport services and environmental services. The Agreement provides for a significant level of openness for trade in services and investment. There will be change.
Content in this section is currently under review and is a work in progress at this time.
For more information at this time please see section 2 of the EU recently published Q&A on Services and Investment click here.
Trade in Services – What Next?
If your business provides services cross-border on the island of Ireland or to GB, you should review and act on any changes in the rules on doing business that may apply to you from 1 January 2021. Both the Irish Government and UK Government have published key information and guidance on services:
Some Key Areas Explored…
Based in Northern Ireland – The Government has updated its guidance on structuring businesses in the European Union and EEA after 1 January 2021. It contains useful links to Companies house resources. For more information, click here.
If your business or group includes a company formed in Ireland, new requirements may apply, unless it has a director who is an Irish citizen. You may need to obtain a bond to the value of €25,000 or a certificate from the Irish Revenue Commissioners to certify that your company has a real and continuous link with a business in Ireland. See the guidance on the Irish Companies Registration Office website here.
Based in Ireland – Businesses in Ireland whose group includes a UK incorporated company or branch should review the UK Government’s guidance on company registration changes from 1 January 2021. For more information, click here.
Guidance on changes in companies registration procedures is available from the UK Companies House here.
Based in Northern Ireland
EU/EEA Public Sector Contracts – Businesses that hold, rely on, or intend to tender for public sector contracts in Ireland or another EU state, should take note of the important changes that will apply after 1 January 2021. The EU rules on the procurement of public sector and certain utilities will no longer apply to the United Kingdom.
The UK is joining the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Government Procurement, of which the European Union is already a member. This provides a level of continued access to public sector contracts in other EU states. However, the terms and conditions of access as well as the enforceability of the rules, will change. Businesses that may be affected should review the position as it applies to them, and consider what steps they may need to take.
The UK Government has published guidance on overseas public sector contracts after 1 January 2021. The guidance includes important links that provide detailed information on the Agreement on Government Procurement. To view this guidance, click here.
Based in Ireland
UK Public Sector Contracts – Businesses in Ireland that hold, rely on, or intend to tender for public sector contracts in Northern Ireland or Great Britain should take note of the important changes that will apply after 1 January 2021. The EU rules on the procurement of public sector and certain utilities contracts will no longer apply to the United Kingdom.
The UK is joining the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Government Procurement, of which the European Union is already a member. This provides for some level of continued access to public sector contracts in the UK. The terms and conditions of access as well ass the enforceability of the rules will change. Businesses that may be affected should investigate the position as it applies to their business, and consider whether any steps are required.
The Office of Government Procurement has published a detailed information note on the effect of Brexit on public sector contracts. It also discusses the Agreement on Government Procurement which is due to apply between the United Kingdom and European Union after 1 January 2021. It is available for download here.
The OGP has established a dedicated Brexit contact point. For Brexit related queries, please email Brexit@opg.gov.ie.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland will hold a dual position with regard to VAT, customs and the single market.
For services, Northern ireland will follow UK VAT rules and not EU VAT rules. However, EU VAT law will continue to apply in relation to the movement of goods.
Therefore, Northern Ireland businesses could have to operate a dual set of VAT rules – EU VAT rules for goods and UK VAT rules for services.
For companies based in Northern Ireland, click here for more information.
For companies based in Ireland, click here for more information.
Additional information is available in the European Commission Brexit Readiness Notice in the field of VAT for Services. To view this guidance, click here.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol certain EU laws, including the requirements of the General Product Safety Directive, Safety of Toys Directive, Low Voltage Directive, Appliances Burning Gaseous Fuels Regulations and Personal Protective Equipment Regulations, which apply in the Republic of Ireland, will also continue to apply to economic operators and products in Northern Ireland.
This means that products placed on the market in Northern Ireland will have to continue to comply with the applicable EU legislation after 31 December 2020.
For companies based Ireland to read more from CCPC, Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, click here.
For companies based in Northern Ireland to read more from the Consumer Council click here.