The new feud with the EU is a response to Boris Johnson’s procurement policy for the UK wind industry. The EU, in particular Madrid and Paris, say the UK’s current policy could be in violation of the post-Brexit trade deal signed late last year. The alarm bells have sounded after the government set an industrial target of 60% of supply chains for new offshore wind farms using products made in the UK or services provided in the country.
But the trade deal with the EU specifically prohibits any obligation for companies “to achieve a given level or percentage of domestic content.”
Spain and France are home to major energy supplies and therefore have a keen interest in future contracts.
The two countries instructed the European Commission to raise the issue of new contracting processes with the UK at a recent meeting.
UK officials confirmed the details of the questionnaire but said they had not yet decided which companies to use or whether the response to domestic supply chains would receive significant weighting.
He said: “Local content requirements are prohibited not only under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, but also the UK’s WTO commitments.
“So the question that needs to be answered is whether the UK in fact grants companies with UK supply chains preferential access to contracts, or just information gathering. The latter is good, the former less.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the success of UK contract applications would not depend on companies’ commitments to the use of local labor and services.
He said: ‘We are committed to supporting the UK renewable energy industry to the extent possible and to building sustainable supply chains for low carbon electricity capable of delivering on the industry’s commitment. the offshore wind sector’s agreement to 60% UK content in its facilities.
“However, under the UK-EU trade deal, there is no mandatory requirement for supply chains to use UK products, or any other kind of mandatory targets. “
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