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Present

  • Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS
  • Lesley Griffiths MS
  • Kirsty Williams MS

Via videolink

  • Jeremy Miles MS (Chair)
  • Julie James MS
  • Eluned Morgan MS
  • Ken Skates MS
  • Vaughan Gething MS
  • Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS
  • Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary
  • Des Clifford, Director General, OFM
  • Piers Bisson, Director, European Transition (Via video link)
  • Simon Brindle, Director, Brexit Strategy (Via video link)
  • Tim Render, Director, Land, Nature and Food (Via video link)
  • Carys Evans, Principal Private Secretary, First Minister
  • Gareth Williams, Special Adviser (Via video link)
  • Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser (Via video link)
  • Dan Butler, Special Adviser (Via video link)
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Toby Mason, Director of Communications (Via video link)
  • Liz Lalley, Deputy Director, European Transition (Preparedness) (Via video link)
  • Emma Edworthy, Deputy Director Trade Policy
  • Rob Parry, Deputy Director, European Transition (Legislation) (Via video link)
  • Michelle Grey, Head of Negotiation Policy and Co-ordination (Via video link)
  • Euros Jones, European Transition (Via video link)
  • Leon Griffiths, Head of Communications, European Transition (Via video link)
  • Lauren Stamp, Senior Private Secretary, CGMET (Via video link)

Apologies

  • Rebecca Evans MS

Item 1: Minutes of the previous meeting

  1. The minutes of the 11 March meeting were agreed.

Item 2: Update on developments

  1. The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition provided an update on developments since the last meeting.
  2. The Counsel General had been in recent discussions with the Paymaster General about the negotiations. Further calls had been proposed leading up to the critical negotiation round in June and a JMC(EN) meeting was being arranged for the following week.
  3. Ministers continued to engage with counterparts in the other devolved administrations.
  4. A written statement had issued on 7 May updating the Senedd on the latest EU issues.
  5. The Sub-Committee noted the update. 

Item 3: EU Future Relationship and Rest of World Trade Negotiations: current position and priorities

  1. The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced this joint paper, which provided an update on the latest developments in the negotiations with the EU and the rest of the world. It also considered the implications of COVID-19 on the resources of both the UK and the Welsh Governments in the context of the negotiations and supported a discussion on the Welsh Government’s negotiating priorities and the potential implications of the current crisis. 
  2. It was reported that negotiations with the EU had been paused following the first round as a result of the virus but had recommenced via video-conference and the third round was due to take place later that week. Negotiations with the USA began the previous week and were due to begin with Japan shortly.
  3. The Welsh Government continued to deplore the UKG’s refusal to acknowledge the huge damage to the economy that could be caused by having to deal with COVID-19 followed by a hard exit from Europe. This would have a disproportionate impact in Wales.
  4. The need to refocus our attempts at influencing the UK government on high priority areas was recognised, a list of which included:
    • Trade in Goods (manufactured goods, agri-foods)
    • Trade in Services (MRPQ)
    • Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS)
    • Environment and Climate Change
    • Energy and carbon pricing
    • Fisheries
    • EU programmes
    • State aid
    • Government procurement
  5. In terms of the negotiations with the rest of the world, it was vital that the Welsh Government took the opportunity to exert influence and continued to focus on priority areas whilst developing negotiating positions as resources allowed.
  6. In terms of a country approach, the clear priority for the Welsh Government was to secure the best possible deal with the EU, as the impact of any loss of access or additional friction caused by tariffs could lead to a 9% drop in GDP. In comparison, a deal with the USA would only likely lead to a 0.7% increase.
  7. The Sub-Committee noted the paper.

Item 4: Further development of Welsh Government negotiating positions

  1. The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced the paper, which considered recent developments in the Welsh Government’s negotiating positions for both the EU and Rest of the World negotiations.
  2. In relation to the specific issue of Sanitary and Phytosanitary standards, the Sub-Committee agreed the position that the Welsh Government should not allow these standards to be undercut or used as a bargaining chip to secure other concessions.
  3. The Sub-Committee agreed the paper and Annex.

Item 5: End of Transition Period: Preparedness update - background note

  1. The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced the item, which was supported by a background note highlighting the key areas of concern from 2019 around no deal exit preparedness, and which offered an update of key relevant developments since then, including impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Item 6: Approach on UK SIs for the Withdrawal Agreement

  1. The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced the paper, which set out the principles for the Welsh Government’s approach to UK SIs to be made under the Withdrawal Act. 
  2. The Sub-Committee agreed the paper.

Cabinet Secretariat
May 2020

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