Supplying cross-border services

There is no longer free movement of persons, free provision of services or freedom of establishment for businesses between the EU and the UK.  Service suppliers have lost their automatic right to offer services across the EU and may need to establish themselves in the EU in order to keep operating, and to comply with different rules for different EU member states in which they operate.  The particular rules which will apply will be determined by the relevant sector in which businesses operate and also the way the service is supplied (e.g. internet or in person) and by whom (e.g. a local supplier owned by a foreign company).

However, the Free Trade Agreement does contain a commitment not to introduce any new trade barriers to service suppliers – such as quotas, equity caps, economic needs tests, joint venture requirements, or nationality requirements for senior managers or directors.  Also, there is no general requirement to have a local presence or residency in order to be able to supply a service.  There are however a number of member state “reservations”, for example insurance services in Germany can only be supplied from a locally based entity, so service suppliers will need to check against their sectors for particular restrictions.  Those services requiring particular professional qualifications will also need reviewing as there will no longer be mutual recognition on this.