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It is not when it starts, it is how it finishes

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The current status of Brexit and its potential impact on European procurement laws...

It is no secret that the UK is leaving the European Union. We voted for the same over a year ago and the official negotiations have now commenced between London and Brussels. It is still a question of when the process would be completed though. Also, how the trade relationships would continue after the breakup. There is a divorce bill to be paid as well - apparently to the tune of €50 billion.

The last 44 years of EU membership has no doubt changed the trade and commercial landscape of the UK. Many European laws have been introduced to the UK legislations, especially in public procurement. Most of them were introduced to improve governance and transparency of the procurement process and also to provide a fair opportunity for suppliers in Europe irrespective of their domicile. OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) procedure is one such mandatory requirement in the current UK public sector procurement. Many have seen these as adding further bureaucracy to the process. However they have been in operation for a couple of decades. Maybe some of us were happy about the UK leaving the EU, meaning all these additional procurement laws would not have effect immediately. Should we?

Brexit negotiation is a complicated process. More than 200 staff are working full time in the UK since the referendum, combing through all legislation, processes, procedures, court precedents and impact on EU immigration. The official negotiations are expected to take at least 2 years. In recent weeks, there have been different views on whether the UK should be asking the EU to let them stay in the single market and the customs union. Some of this noise is coming from political parties but what matters is the official stance of the UK government. 

Amidst all the speculations and the political agendas, one thing is very clear. It would take more than 5 - 10 years for the UK to be 'completely' out of the European Union if she wishes for that clean of an outcome. However, a more practical approach would be in learning to live with some of the EU characteristics. This will be true for procurement laws as well. Whilst there have been criticism on practises such as OJEU, they have served well in areas of governance and transparency.  The best result one could hope for would be the agreement among the UK procurement fraternity to 'cherry-pick' the good laws they want to continue with but with a greater degree of simplification and making them more user friendly and accessible. 

Only time will tell if Brexit is a 'win-win' for both parties. As the UK minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis once said "It is not when it starts, it is how it finishes". 

Comments

Good write-up on the consequential work for Brexit. Thanks for letting us know.

Very well written blog, Tiran. This captures the complexities and the impact of Brexit on UK in a crisp manner. I recall that one of our key Japanese automotive customers in UK was grappling with cost increase requests coming in from suppliers due to currency rates changes against GB Pound for imported parts and components. We negotiated some of those contracts and achieved cost avoidance.

Thanks DP & Prashanth

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