The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a historic trade and cooperation agreement on December 24, 2020, after months of negotiations. The agreement, known as the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, will govern trade relations between the two sides following the UK`s departure from the EU.
The deal covers a wide range of areas, from trade in goods to services, aviation, and fisheries. It also includes provisions on level playing field, governance, and dispute resolution. The agreement avoids the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, which would have triggered tariffs and quotas on UK-EU trade.
One of the key features of the agreement is that it eliminates tariffs and quotas on all goods traded between the EU and the UK. This will provide certainty for businesses on both sides of the Channel and help to facilitate the flow of goods. However, there will be new customs formalities and regulatory checks at borders, which could increase costs and bureaucracy for businesses.
The agreement also includes provisions on services, which make up the bulk of the UK`s economy. While the UK will no longer have automatic access to the EU`s market for services, the agreement provides for a framework for mutual recognition of professional qualifications and regulatory cooperation. This should help to facilitate trade in services between the two sides.
Another contentious issue in the negotiations was fishing rights. The agreement provides for a transition period of five and a half years during which EU vessels will continue to have access to UK waters. After that, quotas will be negotiated annually. The agreement also provides for a mechanism to resolve disputes over fishing rights.
Overall, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement represents a significant achievement in the Brexit process. While it is not perfect, it provides a framework for trade and cooperation between two close neighbors and trading partners. The agreement will be closely scrutinized in the coming months and years, as its provisions are implemented and its impact on businesses and consumers becomes clear.