TRADE AND MARKET I NG Brexit also worries the The chance that the United Kingdom is moving towards a hard Brexit is increasing. Negotiations between the European Union and the UK as yet offer little prospect of a smooth transition. As a result, potato exporters trading with the UK may also face a hard transition without trade agreements as from 29 March 2019, the official exit date. I n a referendum in June 2016, the British population chose to leave the European Union (EU). The United Kingdom and the EU have since been negotiating an exit agreement and how to shape their new relationship. The UK wants to break away from the EU, while simultaneously maintaining good relations with it. The EU is open to a free trade agreement with the UK without import duties and without import quotas for goods, and with as few trade barriers as possible. In principle, the UK and the EU have agreed on a transition period that will run until 31 December 2020. During this period, the EU will treat the UK as part of the EU. This period will give governments and the private sector the opportunity to prepare themselves thoroughly for Brexit, because during the Brexit transition period, the UK will be a Third Country, with which agreements can be made about the future relationship. The whole exit agreement must be completed A condition of the EU for a transitional period, however, is that the entire exit agreement must be completed. And that will be quite a job with big obstacles such as the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Imposing a hard border will create a risk for the hardwon peace in Northern Ireland. The EU negotiator Michel Barnier also reported in early August 2018 that the UK wants to apply the customs rules of the EU, but without freedom of movement of persons and services. This can become a balancing act because Dutch suppliers can supply equipment, for example, for potato storage, but the corresponding advice will not be as easy. Moreover, Barnier fears that the EU will lose legal control over its borders. 18 Potato World 2018 • number 4 Pagina 17

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