Trade in professional services

This month’s Brussels Agenda revolves around the theme of professional services in a trade context. Professional services are distinct from financial services, having their basis in different regulations, directives and decisions both within the EU and internationally.

This is an apt time for a window into professional services as they will be relevant for the continuing negotiations between the EU and UK. Both financial services and professional services make up important parts of the UK economy and, while financial services have received a lot of coverage, professional services have not. They also did not form part of the guidelines on the future of the UK-EU relationship adopted by the European Council on 23 March 2018 as the economic relationship between the parties will form part of any future agreement.

Overall, it is difficult to set precedents for trade agreements as by their very nature they are dictated by ever changing and fluid circumstance, negotiating positions and interests. This is a running theme of this edition and intertwines with our lengthy Brexit update, reflecting the interest and progress that has taken place on the topic this month.

We have received an excellent viewpoint from Jude Kirton-Darling MEP and focus pieces from Tracey Epps and Deanna Easton, both of whom provide an insight into professional services in trade from outside of the EU. We also begin a monthly segment provided by members of the Junior Lawyers Division (a division of the Law Society for junior lawyers across England and Wales) providing the context and relevance of our topics to the junior end of the profession.

Don’t let Brexit jeopardise UK’s valuable services sector

29 March 2018

Professional services accounted for approximately 7.8% of UK GDP in 2016 – the latest figures – yet the EU trade deal with Canada (The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)), widely touted as the model for the UK post Brexit, does not provide a comprehensive framework for them. CETA has been given increasing attention following Michel Barnier’s publication of CETA as the ‘one available option’ given the UK government’s red lines on policy going forward.

Trainee Solicitors and EU Law

28 March 2018

For some UK-based trainee solicitors, EU law remains a distant memory of a module from law school. For others it is a thriving and diverse seat option, which offers tangible examples of competition law and something a bit different to everyday legal work. Trainees currently entering the market are arriving at a time where the future of the EU’s impact upon England and Wales (and the UK at large) is uncertain. 

Negotiating professional services in trade agreements

28 March 2018

Deanna Easton of the Permanent Mission of Australia to the UN and WTO discusses the fine detail of negotiating professional services in trade negotiations. Professional services is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing export sectors. Through trade negotiations, Australia seeks to improve conditions for professional service providers to enter, operate and expand in foreign markets. Outcomes for the professional services sector are delivered through: market access commitments; ...

The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement between New Zealand and Australia

28 March 2018

Tracey Epps, senior adviser in the Trade Law Unit in the New Zealand’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs outlines the key characteristics of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA). The TTMRA was signed in 1996 between the Government of New Zealand and the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments within Australia. The TTMRA advanced the strategic objective held by the New Zealand and Australian Governments of creating a “single trans-Tasman market for the sale of goods ...

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