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Brexit: Gove defends £705m plan for border posts and staff

A £705m funding package to help manage Britain’s borders has been announced as the UK prepares to leave the EU customs union at the end of the year.

Mr. Gove insisted the government had been “laying the groundwork for months”. But Labor’s Rachel Reeves said the plans were “too little, too late.”

The funding announcement follows a leaked letter from International Trade Secretary Liz Truss raising concerns about the readiness of Britain’s ports.

Under the plans, new border posts will be created inland where existing ports have no room to expand to cope with the extra checks that will be required.

It relates only to the external borders of England, Scotland and Wales. Mr. Gove told BBC’s Andrew Marr program that more details will be set out about the situation for Northern Ireland “later this month”.

The new funding will include up to £470m to build port and inland infrastructure, and £235m will be allocated for IT systems and staffing.


Step up ‘no deal’ planning, Barnier warns EU firms

The EU’s chief negotiator on future relations with the UK warned EU businesses on Thursday (9 July) to step up their planning for a ‘no deal’ scenario when the UK leaves the Single Market at the end of 2020.

As the latest negotiating round on a new EU-UK trade deal ended in London on Thursday, Michel Barnier said that “this week’s discussions confirm that significant divergences remain between the EU and GB. We will continue working with patience, respect and determination.”

Little progress is believed to have been made on the long-time sticking points of fisheries and the “level playing field” arrangements, designed to prevent the UK undercutting the EU’s environmental and social policy standards and state aid.

However, while the talks will resume in Brussels, the Commission communication ‘Getting Ready for Changes’ urged businesses to “consider revisiting their existing preparedness plans”.

The European Commission stated that there will be changes from 2021 in trade in goods and services, energy and legal cooperation, travel and tourism regardless of whether there is a new deal, or not.


Getting ready for the end of the transition period with the UK: European Commission adopts “readiness” Communication

The European Commission Communication “Getting ready for changes” sets out a sector-by-sector overview of the main areas where there will be changes regardless of the outcome of the ongoing EU-UK negotiations, and sets out measures that national authorities, businesses and citizens should take in order to be ready for these changes. It in no way seeks to prejudge the outcome of negotiations. As such, it does not examine the possible implications of a failure to reach an agreement, nor does it consider the need for contingency measures.

Its aim is to ensure that all public administrations and stakeholders are ready and well prepared for the unavoidable disruptions caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU and to end the transition period this year. These measures complement actions taken at national level.

In parallel, the European Commission is reviewing and, where necessary, updating all 102 stakeholder notices, published at the time of the withdrawal negotiations – many of which continue to be relevant for the end of the transition period. The list of more than 50 updated notices is in annex to the Communication and all are available on the Commission’s dedicated webpage.

[European Commission]

Guidance on how the UK will make human rights designations

On 6 July 2020 the UK published the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020, pursuant to which sanctions may be imposed on people/companies whom the government has reasonable grounds to suspect have been involved in serious violations of human rights or are connected in relevant way, and where the designation is “appropriate”.

The Government has published a policy paper identifying the following as some of the factors it will consider when deciding who to add to the list:

The UK government’s human rights priorities;

The nature of the victim;

The seriousness of the conduct;

International profile and collective action;

Non-state actors with a significant degree of control;

The status and connections of the involved person; and

The effectiveness of other measures, including law enforcement.

[EU Sanctions]

Middle East

Oman’s Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (Madayn) has abolished some of the fees related to trucks’ entry and storage in Al Mazunah Free Zone

This comes within Madayn’s efforts to fight the economic consequences resulting from Covid-19 pandemic, and to attract more local and foreign investments and encourage transit trade in the free zone.

Meanwhile, Al Mazunah Free Zone, which pertains to Madayn, has witnessed notable growth during the first half of 2020.

The volume of incoming goods to the free zone increased to 210,160 tonnes during the first half of 2020 compared to 129,170 tonnes during the same period in 2019, noting a growth rate of more than 62 per cent. Besides, the total number of incoming vehicles to Al Mazunah Free Zone touched 19,384 during the first half of 2020 in comparison to 945 during the same period in 2019, recording a growth rate that exceeds 1,951 per cent.

This steady growth is attributed to the incentives and facilities offered by Madayn through Al Mazunah Free Zone to offer an ideal investment destination for the investors and business owners. The free zone has recently signed several agreements to encourage further business growth.


Dubai trade reinforces digitalisation with UAE’s first “e-delivery order”

Dubai Trade, DP World’s single window platform for cross border trade, has introduced the “Electronic Delivery Order”, a sophisticated new technological tool that will allow supply chain stakeholders to handle their complex import processes with just the click of a computer mouse.

The E-Delivery Order is tailored to support trade, logistics and supply chain players in trying times like the operational disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Launched in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that requires social distancing and Work From Home, the new system enables shipping agents, freight forwarders and Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs) to move beyond their tedious over-the-counter operations that require physical visits and upgrade to a highly digitised process that delivers a cost-effective, efficient and time-saving mechanism on the Dubai Trade portal, all from the safety of their homes.

The multi-faceted “E-Delivery Order” eliminates paperwork and liberates the UAE’s trading community from the inefficiencies of manual intervention and related costs. It minimises cargo clearance turnaround time, increases competitiveness and creates greater visibility of the cargo flow. The process is further eased with Dubai Customs accepting digital Bills of Lading and Delivery Orders from agents.