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.
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 ...