November 8, 2023 Promoting international trade
The King’s speech at the State Opening of Parliament on 7th November set out the expected legislation for the forthcoming year. A wide-ranging programme of reforms looks towards strengthening society, keeping people safe, and growing the economy. All of the measures announced will need to progress through Parliament before becoming law.
Many of the measures have already been flagged up, but it is only now that we are seeing the firm intention to move from policy discussion into law. One such measure relates to the accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Whilst the original agreement to join the CPTPP was announced at the end of March 2023, the Bill which is now to be put before Parliament will enable the UK to meet its obligations when it fully accedes to the CPTPP. This includes enhancing regulatory co-operation which should reduce costs for UK businesses trading internationally, whilst protecting UK standards.
Having strong regulatory standards also helps to promote UK businesses when trading overseas. The proposed Data Protection and Digital Information Bill aims to reduce the red tape burden on UK business. But by simultaneously maintaining high data protection standards, the Bill should help UK businesses to trade more freely with overseas entities.
International trade is a two-way street. Whilst reforms will help UK businesses to trade with overseas partners, they may also encourage overseas entities to set up a subsidiary within, or move their operations to, the UK. Setting up a UK subsidiary could enable overseas entities not only to strengthen their trade within the UK but also trade out of the UK to other countries.
The UK’s statutory compliance regime is perhaps seen as more fluid than in some other jurisdictions. For example, the comply or explain principle which underpins corporate reporting in the UK gives company directors a measure of flexibility in their dialogue with shareholders and others. However, UK companies do have to comply with certain regulatory requirements in areas such as annual reporting, accounting, and employment. International businesses may also have to comply with the Register of Overseas Entities Legislation which requires them to declare ownership of UK real estate.
Elemental can offer a range of services for international businesses looking to develop closer ties with the UK. By market share we are the number one UK regulated agent for registration and verification in respect of the Register of Overseas Entities. We also work with companies which are looking to set up a UK subsidiary including offering a professional UK director service.