The States of Guernsey has been working closely with the UK Government, alongside Jersey and the Isle of Man, to ensure that trade continues to flow between the islands and our trading partners in the UK and EU post-Brexit. On this page you'll find information and documents relating to our work in this crucial area, including guidance for traders following the UK's exit from the EU on 31 January 2020, during the transition period (to 31 December 2020) and preparing for the new UK-EU relationship (from 31 December 2020).
Brexit from a business perspective
Ensuring there is as little disruption to trade as possible has been a strategic focus for the States of Guernsey throughout our work to prepare for Brexit. Our priorities in this area have included working with the UK Government to secure an extension of its WTO membership to the islands, ensuring the continued tariff-free movement of goods between the Bailiwick, the UK, Jersey and the Isle of Man by agreeing the formation of a new joint customs union which will take effect at the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) and putting in place the necessary legislation to ensure the continual free-flow of data.
A guide for businesses
- The following document was published by the States of Guernsey in 2019 to provide information for businesses based in Guernsey about the UK's exit from the EU. It was primarily focussed on what businesses would need to do if the UK had left the EU (on 31 January 2020) without the Withdrawal Agreement being in place.
- The information has been deliberately left on the website as contingency planning might still be relevant if the UK-EU future relationship agreement is not finalised in time for 31 December 2020. Businesses preparing for a 'no-deal' Brexit [407kb]
- The following document sets out information relating to Customs & Excise to help businesses and individuals understand the various scenarios that could impact trade, in order that they can make informed plans and preparations. This notice identifies key areas of customs-related business that may be affected: Guernsey Customs Brexit Preparations [1Mb]
- A high-level arrangement was signed in November 2018 to form a joint customs union between the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. This arrangement will take effect when the transition period ends (31 December 2020) and will allow tariff-free movement of goods between the four territories of the custom union. You can read the text of the agreement here.
- Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs prepared guidance to inform businesses of the implications for the trade in goods between the UK and EU countries in case the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 without the Withdrawal Agreement having been approved and implemented for the transition period. Please note this guidance was written for UK businesses, however much of it is relevant to Guernsey traders too: HMRC advice on trade in event of no deal exit
- If the transition period were to end without an agreement on the UK-EU future relationship, the UK will apply rates of customs duty (tariffs) on imports. . Exports from the Bailiwick into the UK will not be subject to such UK tariffs in any event because the joint customs union will take effect at the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) (referenced above).
World Trade Organization
- Current position - Bailiwick trade in goods and services
- Since the early 1970s, Guernsey has enjoyed the free and frictionless flow of goods between the UK and the EU. In accordance with the UK's Treaty of Accession, Protocol 3, Guernsey wasable to trade in agricultural and industrial goods within the EU. Protocol 3 also placed the Bailiwick, Jersey and the Isle of Man in the EU Customs Union, allowing the free movement of goods. During the transition period, the trade in goods will continue as if Protocol 3 still applied.
- The trade in services originating from Guernsey fell outside the scope of Protocol 3. Guernsey is a significant exporter of services both within the EU and globally in certain industry sectors. The island works closely with the EU and where necessary adheres to, or applies, equivalent controls to facilitate trade with EU Member States. There is no change in regard to the trade in services during the transition period.
- Future position - trading after the transition period (from 31 December 2020 onwards)
- When the transition period ends (31 December 2020), the current customs arrangements will cease. Guernsey has considered its own future customs arrangements for the future in relation to both goods and services. The States of Guernsey decided in February 2019 to request that the UK extend the territorial scope of its World Trade Organization (WTO) membership to include the Bailiwick of Guernsey. In October 2019, the extension of the UK's WTO membership to the Bailiwick was secured. The extension of the UK's WTO membership to include the Bailiwick will take place when the UK becomes an independently represented member of the WTO (when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020).
- Extending the UK's WTO membership will play an important role in the future of the Bailiwick's trading relationships with other jurisdictions. and was a key part of the States of Guernsey's planning and risk mitigation strategy. Extending the UK's membership will provide Bailiwick companies with access to global rules on the trade in goods, services and IP with other WTO members, including EU Member States and the majority of countries worldwide. It helps to provide certainty for businesses.
- For more information, you can read the Policy & Resources Committee's policy letter ' Extending the United Kingdom's membership of the World Trade Organization' here: WTO extension policy letter and the media release about the extension of the UK's WTO membership to include the Bailiwick[HS1].
- For further information in relation to the UK's current WTO Commitments in relation to Goods, Services and IP please click on the following link
Movement of agricultural, fisheries, horticultural, food and feed product post-Brexit
- Under Protocol 3, Guernsey enjoyed the free movement of agricultural, fisheries, horticultural, food and feed products ('agri-foods') with the EU . It is important for trade and non-trade matters that current access rights are maintained as much as possible both during the transition period and beyond. During the transition period (until 31 December 2020), the free movement of goods continues as if Protocol 3 still existed.
- Guernsey officials have been working closely with colleagues from Jersey, the Isle of Man and the UK's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to make sure all necessary processes are in place to protect existing trading relationships, wherever possible.
- However, being a third country to the EU means that some rules or practices may change in future. There may be different requirements depending on the type of agri-food being moved, the type of movements (for trade/commercial matters, or for non-trade matters such as the temporary movement of pets into the EU to accompany an owner on holiday), and whether the UK, and in turn Guernsey, has been able to secure third party access rights to trade with the EU.
- Within Guernsey, expertise is split across several government committees, and some policy areas cut across multiple committees, but an indicative guide for who to contact in the first instance for further information is:
- Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure (for veterinary and agriculture matters) by calling (01481) 234567.
- Committee for Health & Social Care (for food, feed, environmental health/hygiene matters) via email email@example.com or telephone (01481) 711161.
- Committee for Economic Development (for fisheries and horticulture matters) by calling (01481) 234567.
- Committee for Economic Development (for trade matters) by calling (01481) 743800
Movement of data
- The States of Guernsey approved a new data protection law in November 2017, which had been drafted to align the Bailiwick's legislation with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation. You can read The Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017, and an explanatory note about it, here: The Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017
- Exchanging data with the EU and UK
- The Bailiwick of Guernsey is neither part of the United Kingdom or the European Union. For the purposes of personal data protection, the Bailiwick is a third country to the EU. Guernsey has a well-established personal data protection regime, which has been recognised as "adequate" by the European Commission since 21 November 2003. Brexit does not alter this position.
- During the transition period (until 31 December 2020), data can continue to be exchanged between the Bailiwick and the EU and between the Bailiwick and the UK.