Light, and lots of paperwork, at the end of the tunnel

This week’s big, though not surprising, news is that new customs hurdles loom for UK businesses, especially in terms of cost and paperwork, when the country leaves the EU’s Customs Union at the end of 2020. At the same time, the conditions for a last-minute deal begin to emerge, writes Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz


In order to qualify for duty-free access to Europe’s Single Market, even under a possible post-Brexit free-trade deal, UK businesses will have to determine the so-called rules of origin of goods that they trade. Experts expect that they will be required to prove that about 55 per cent of a given product has been produced locally so as to qualify for zero-tariff treatment (Bloomberg). Some have heralded freeports as a potential remedy to this, but trade expert Anna Jerzewska thinks otherwise:

“European Britain should not be seen as the antithesis of, or an alternative to, Global Britain,” said David Lidington, Theresa May’s erstwhile deputy. “We are — one at the same time — both a European power and a power with global interests and global influence. We need to be able to ride both those horses at the same time,” he said. (Politico)

A deal on the future relationship between the UK and the EU might still not be reached this year, but the dangers resulting from such a turn of events are now being loudly warned against by both sides of the divide, and that is a good sign, claims Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform. As is the fact that concessions have been made by both London and Brussels, and that there is still enough time to reach a deal, he claims. He also expects that down the line “when emotions over Brexit have subsided – when leavers no longer suspect remainers of trying to block it, and EU governments have stopped fearing that a slash-and-burn UK economy will outperform them – rational actors on both sides may see the benefit of closer economic, political and security cooperation.” (Guardian)

On the blog

How do you tell the history of Brexit? In the first of a nine-part series, Tim Oliver (Loughborough University London) shows how 47 objects can tell the story of how Britain ended its 47 years of EU membership. What objects would you display to tell the history of Brexit? More importantly, what would they tell us? Send your suggestions to

UK data regime post Brexit: What does the Schrems case mean for UK post-Brexit data flows? At the heart of the Schrems case is a conflict of laws – a conflict between EU privacy law and US surveillance law. After 31 December, the question about surveillance law turns around to point at the UK. Whichever way one looks at it, deal or no deal with the EU, UK surveillance law will be the determining factor, writes Monica Horten (LSE).


This week we said goodbye to our founding co-editor Ros Taylor. She’s still at the LSE, but she will be missed.

The LSE Brexit newsletter is pausing for August. It will return, on a fortnightly basis, in September.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at