Trade agreements have a major influence on the construction industry, from the cost of materials to the regulations that apply. Tariffs are an additional tax on imported materials, so they can significantly increase the cost of construction projects. The Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union establishes a regulatory framework for public procurement trade based on the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). This agreement allows UK companies to compete for public contracts across the EU, albeit on a more limited basis than before.
Companies in the United Kingdom will also be able to tender public contracts in other GPA member countries, such as the United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea. The implementation of "just-in-time" acquisitions can slow down progress and increase costs. To ensure that construction products marketed in the United Kingdom before Brexit continue to comply with applicable regulations, manufacturers and users must understand the changes that are being made to the regulations that apply in the United Kingdom. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not guarantee that it will be determined to be adequate from the UK's perspective in relation to the EU.
The United States and China have yet to resolve their trade issues, and the Biden administration has no plans to reduce or eliminate tariffs on products from China at this time. Hong Kong has taken another step towards implementing a legal award regime to ensure the security of payments in the construction industry. Professor Noble Francis, economic director of the Construction Products Association, points out that only 24% of construction products used in the United Kingdom are imported, but of those that do, two-thirds come from the European Union. The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) provides harmonized rules (standards) for the marketing of construction products.
The EU and the United Kingdom have agreed to a six-month transitional agreement to allow the continuous and free flow of personal data from the EU and EFTA States in the EEA. The freedom of movement of workers has been one of the most controversial aspects of Brexit and is of vital importance for the construction sector. In conclusion, trade agreements have a significant impact on construction projects. Tariffs can increase costs, while "just-in-time" acquisitions can slow down progress.
Companies must understand changes to regulations that apply in their country. The Trade Agreement between the UK and EU allows UK companies to compete for public contracts across Europe, while Hong Kong has taken steps towards implementing a legal award regime for security payments.