The EU Goods Sub-Committee published its report on what the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) means for trade in goods, following an inquiry that ADS submitted to. The report states, “The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) agreed with the EU on Christmas Eve is far better than a ‘no deal’ scenario, but has not rectified the significant regulatory, logistical and administrative barriers to trade arising from the UK’s status as a third country.” It concludes, “While most trade is tariff-free, it is not simple.”  

 The report recognises that these barriers particularly affect smaller businesses and those who are not used to filling out trading paperwork. While some are short-term teething problems, others create long-term structural barriers to trade with the EU.  


 ADS submitted a comprehensive response to the inquiry detailing the impacts felt by members across sectors and policy areas. The full response can be found in the ADS Member’s Area. The report cited many of ADS’ points in its recommendations, which include: 

  • The Government must further consider temporary recognition arrangements to enable pre-transition contractual obligations to be fulfilled. 
  • While continuing to seek mutual recognition of conformity assessment, the Government must engage with businesses and regulatory authorities to identify areas where regulatory cooperation can be improved and seek agreement to empower specific regulatory authorities from both Parties to recognise standards set by, and products approved by, the other. 
  • The UK’s Authorised Economic Operator scheme is, for many businesses, inaccessible. The time-consuming application process and the high threshold for approval means that few businesses can take advantage of the simplifications it provides. We recommend that the Government take steps to simplify the application process and lower the threshold for entry, to enable easier access for small businesses. 

 Next Steps 

ADS continues to represent members on issues arising in the trade of goods with the EU and to advocate for a smooth trading relationship.

The ADS Brexit Hub is constantly updated with news and information, which will help members navigate Brexit going forward. We work closely with the Government and Parliament to feedback members’ experiences and we have a Brexit Reporting Mailbox for members to highlight any issues you may be encountering: