The UK and the EU reached a final agreement on the future of their relationship that will maintain trade fluidity and avert disruptions. The two sides avoided a no-deal scenario in the last minute with an agreement that will ensure fair competition, provide predictability and establishes a new economic partnership between the EU and the UK.
The deal will cover trade in goods and services with no tariffs and quotas, and also investment, or social security coordination. But this trade will not be frictionless as merchandises will have to be controlled at the borders, forcing EU and British companies to go through customs formalities, regulatory checks and other type of controls. When it comes to services, the Agreement ensures that service suppliers from the EU will be treated no less favourably than UK operators in the UK, and vice-versa
Both parties agreed to ensure a level playing field by maintaining high levels of protection and similar standards in areas such as environment, social and labour rights or state aid, with an enforcement and dispute settlement mechanism. If the UK or the EU diverged in these fields, the deal provides for the possibility to apply unilateral rebalancing measures.
As the text will not be ratified by the EU institutions before the end of year the EU Commission proposed to apply the Agreement provisionally as of 1st January 2021. ETA applauds this decision as it will help avoiding disruptions to people and companies once the transition period comes to an end on December 31st.
“We welcome this agreement and we thank the negotiators for their enormous efforts. This deal can be a good basis for a strong EU-UK trade partnership and a close cooperation between both sides on maritime, transport or competition policies. We urge EU and British leaders to maintain a level playing field and to work together in order to limit the impact of new customs formalities on trade flows”, Anna Maria Darmanin, ETA Secretary General, said.
You can find the all the UK-EU agreement documents (text of the deal, EC press release, infographics, etc.) here.