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BIA Welcomes Government Brexit Position Papers on Trade and Customs

on Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

During the Brexit process, the UK government and EU negotiators are setting out their positions in a series of papers. The government has put forward two Position Papers recently...

... which have been welcomed by the BioIndustry Association (BIA), the trade association for innovative life sciences in the UK.

What Are the Position Papers?

The Position Papers set out the government's position and are papers for discussion.

In one Position Paper, the government set out its position for the continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK. There are four key principles in that Position Paper:

  • Goods that are on the market before exit day under Brexit can continue to be sold in the UK and EU without additional requirements or restrictions.

  • To avoid unnecessary duplication of compliance requirements that have already been started pre the exit date. Where products have gone through an authorisation process prior to exit, the approval should remain valid in both markets after the exit.

  • Patient safety in both the EU27 countries and the UK are paramount.

  • The provision of goods and services are increasingly interconnected.

The Customs Position Paper set out the government's plan for customs post-Brexit. The three objectives are: 

  • For the UK/EU to be as frictionless as possible.

  • No hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

  • Establishing an independent trade policy.

The two possibilities are for a highly streamlined customs arrangement or a new customs partnership with the EU for example using technology or online methods to assist.

The BIA called this a pragmatic approach and a constructive starting point for arrangements that aim to minimise disruption to vital safety and monitoring processes for medicines and avoid any negative impact to medicines supply.


There is more flesh appearing on the bones with each paper that is published. This has to be welcomed. It is also encouraging to see Pharma & Life Sciences representative bodies expressing satisfaction with the direction of travel in the Brexit process.

The BIA has expressed a warm sign that its input into the government as to what the industry needs post Brexit is being listened to. There is still a long way to go, and probably many twists and turns, but it is positive to hear some encouraging noises from the life sciences industry, given that the sector has raised a lot of concerns previously about what Brexit could mean.

The Brexit process is going to need to be watched very carefully. We welcome your thoughts on how this affects you. Please share them with Paul Gershlick in our Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences team on 01923 919 320. 

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