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Caviar, diamonds, Netflix and Aberdeen Angus cattle: The latest ‘no-deal’ Brexit impacts

9:27 pm, 12th October 2018

Covering areas from train travel to consumer rights and caviar imports to diamond trading, here’s what they say:

:: ELECTRICITY

The government has warned a no-deal Brexit means the single electricity market on the island of Ireland might not be able to continue.

A government paper states: “Separate Ireland and Northern Ireland markets will be less efficient, with potential effects for producers and consumers on both sides of the border.”

Amid fears of power outages in such a scenario, ministers have admitted they will need to take action to keep the lights on in Northern Ireland with “contingency planning work” already underway.

It has previously been reported one Whitehall plan could see thousands of electricity generators requisitioned at short notice and put on barges in the Irish Sea.

:: EUROSTAR AND EUROTUNNEL

Trains from the UK to European countries could stop without a Brexit deal.

The government says it would have to negotiate new agreements with EU countries to maintain cross-border services.

Ministers are seeking fresh arrangements with France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

They want mutual recognition of documentation so that train operators from the UK and EU can continue to run cross-Channel services.

However, passengers are warned they are responsible for ensuring their insurance and tickets are sufficient to cover possible disruption beyond March next year.

It means some might want to buy more expensive fares for flexible services, rather than cheaper fixed tickets.

:: NETFLIX AND SPOTIFY

Britons could lose access to online entertainment services such as Netflix or Spotify while travelling in the EU after a no-deal Brexit.

EU rules introduced last year means citizens can access accounts that have been set up in one country while in other member states.

However, a government paper warns: “The portability regulation will cease to apply to UK nationals when they travel to the EU.

“This means online content service providers will not be required or able to offer cross-border access to UK consumers under the EU Regulation.

“UK consumers may see restrictions to their online content services when they temporarily visit the EU.”

:: TRADE

Without a Brexit deal, the UK will no longer benefit from free trade agreements the EU enjoys with more than 70 non-EU countries.

To compensate for this, the government will seek to bring in new trade agreements with non-EU countries from 29 March next year, or “as soon as possible thereafter” – although it warns these new deals could include “practical changes”.

A government paper states: “These new agreements will replicate existing EU agreements and the same preferential effects with third countries as far as possible.”

Ministers and officials are said to be “engaging regularly with partner countries to complete this work”.

Should these new deals not be in place by Brexit day, trade with these non-EU countries would revert to World Trade Organisation terms, which could see tariffs on some goods.

:: DIAMONDS

UK firms could lose the ability to trade rough diamonds internationally in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

This is because, at the moment, British companies can trade in rough diamonds within the EU and with other countries outside the bloc due to the EU’s membership of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Britain will have to seek its own membership of the KPCS.

A letter to UK traders from the government warns: “We cannot at this stage rule out the possibility that we could exit the EU neither with a deal nor immediate independent participation.

“In this very unlikely case, you would not be able to trade internationally in rough diamonds until we had secured our KP participation.”

:: CONSUMER RIGHTS

Under a no-deal Brexit, UK consumers will no longer be able to use UK courts to seek redress from EU-based traders.

Even if a UK court does make a judgement, the enforcement of that judgement will be more difficult.

There will also no longer be reciprocal obligations on the UK or EU member states to investigate breaches of consumer laws or take action.

In addition, those who buy package holidays from EU-based traders may not enjoy the same insolvency protections currently available.

:: GEO-BLOCKING

From December this year, new EU rules will prevent companies from being able to discriminate against customers on the basis of their nationality or place of residence when purchasing goods and services online.

Under a no-deal Brexit, this geo-blocking regulation will cease to have effect in UK law.

A government paper states: “Traders from the UK, EU and third countries would not be prohibited from discriminating between EU customers and UK customers.”

:: FISHING

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British fishing vessels will no longer have automatic rights to fish in EU or third-country waters.

Similarly, non-UK vessels will no longer have automatic access to British waters.

UK vessels will also lose their automatic right to land fish in any EU port, apart from in cases of distress.

Britain will no longer be a member of regional fisheries management organisations (RMFOs) when it loses EU membership, which – under a no-deal departure – could lead to a gap of up to six months before the UK can rejoin them as an independent coastal state.

During this time, UK boats may not be able to fish in international waters covered by RMFOs.

:: CAVIAR AND FASHION IMPORTS

A no-deal Brexit could push up the price of caviar, orchids, animal-skin bags and watch straps.

As an EU member state, the UK can freely trade goods listed in annexes B, C and D of the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, these goods that are currently freely moved and traded between the UK and the EU will require a CITES permit or import/export notification.

Commonly traded annex B items include caviar, snowdrops, orchids, corals, reptiles (e.g. pythons), and many animal skins used in the manufacture of bags and watch straps (e.g. alligator skin).

:: PEDIGREE ANIMALS

Under a no-deal Brexit, UK breeders of pedigree horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats will lose automatic recognition in the EU.

A government paper states: “A recognised UK breed society or breeding operation would no longer be automatically entitled to enter their pedigree breeding animals into an equivalent breeding book in the EU and would have no right to extend a breeding programme into the EU.”

Instead, UK breeders will have to seek EU certification for their animals.

It is warned this will affect purebred livestock such as Aberdeen Angus cattle or Herdwick sheep.

:: PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

Under a no-deal Brexit, professionals such as doctors, pharmacists and architects will no longer have their qualifications automatically recognised in the EU.