Reed Smith Client Alerts

Since 1 January 2021, much has been written about the impacts, expected and unexpected, of the UK’s new trading relationships with the EU under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

In parallel, the UK and the EU have both had COVID-related travel restrictions in force during this period. This means that the impact of the TCA on the cross-border movement of services has been untested so far, and there may be one more surprise in store for UK companies when they do finally start wanting to send their staff to deliver a service to a customer in the EU.

The longevity of the European single market means that we take much for granted. And, when the TCA includes a sentence providing that “Each Party shall allow the supply of services in its territory by contractual service suppliers or independent professionals of the other Party through the presence of natural persons, in accordance with Article SERVIN.4.4 [Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals], for the sectors listed in this Annex and subject to the relevant limitations”, it’s easy to think that this must be fine and nothing has changed.

But dig a bit deeper, and that might not be the case. There are 37 different sectors listed, and the respective Annex lists, sector by sector, country by country, which countries retain the right to require an economic needs assessment before permitting a UK company to provide a service in their country.