Hogan Lovells responds to the Government's Brexit White Paper

Peter Watts, a partner in the London office and a member of the firm's Brexit Taskforce, commented:

"The White Paper starts to pencil-in some of the details of the UK Government's position but, even at 104 pages, it raises as many questions as it answers.

"The picture it paints is of a "pick-and-mix Brexit" with many aspects of the single market retained for goods and continued UK involvement in many EU agencies, more significant divergence and "friction" in relation to services, an unprecedented "facilitated customs arrangement" and extensive new institutional arrangements to manage the new relationship.

"Perhaps inevitably, the White Paper demonstrates the challenges accommodating EU's 'red-lines', the views of business and the range of UK domestic political pressures. It seems equally inevitable that it will prove challenging for these proposals to navigate those potential roadblocks.

"For businesses there will be a range of specific concerns and questions but the overriding impression will be the amount of work that still needs to be done. Even if these proposals can win sufficient favour in principle to enable a withdrawal agreement to be signed before 29 March 2019, it seems inevitable that many important details will remain outstanding. That will mean that many months of the "transition period" are likely to be taken up with continuing negotiations meaning that the practical window for transition could well be much shorter than 21 months.

"Not the 'beginning of the end' but perhaps the 'end of the beginning' of Brexit."

For further comment on the impact of Brexit, please visit:  www.hoganlovellsbrexit.com/

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