UK-EU Trade Deal: What’s actually in it?

by Yusuf Odabashy

Following nine months of negotiations, the EU and UK agreed and signed the new ‘Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ on 24th December 2020. The main agreement itself is some 1,246 pages long since it includes several other agreements within it, such as the ‘Nuclear Cooperation Agreement’ and the ‘Agreement on Security Procedures for Exchanging and Protecting Classified Information’. 

Trade: Movement of Goods 

The agreement establishes that trade between the UK and EU will incur zero tariffs and quotas (restrictions) if the relevant origin conditions are met. These conditions determine how much product must come from a particular nation to qualify for the rule. These ‘originating’ goods can then benefit from market access agreements.

The Agreement also includes provisions addressing any ‘Technical Barriers to Trade’, whilst giving both parties the ability to regulate goods in a manner which is most appropriate for their own market. The Agreement also allows for information to be shared on dangerous and non-compliant products in the EU and UK markets. 

Open and Fair Competition

Both sides have the right to set their own laws, subject to the constraints in the agreement. Both sides must maintain high standards in their respective competition law, covering areas such as enforcement, regulation, independent competition authorities and ensuring that the laws are fair, transparent and non-discriminatory.

Visas and Travel

Both parties agreed to allow visa-free travel for short term visits. However, should either the UK or EU choose to impose visas, it must do so at least three months before the requirement is enforced. The general rule right now is that if you are travelling for touristic purposes, you can stay for a period of up to 90 days in a 180-day period. 

In terms of travel, if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will continue to be valid if you are travelling to the EU, but not the EEA (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein). For the EEA, you will need to take out appropriate health insurance. 

Transport

Aviation

The operation of air transport services will continue without obstruction between the UK and the EU.

Road Transport

The transport of goods via road will continue, allowing continued market access with no additional requirements. As for passenger transport, market access will continue for both UK and EU owned transport operators, and the movement of people will not be affected. 

Fisheries

The Agreement ends the UK’s membership of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. Following this, it will allow the UK to create and manage its own laws regarding fishing in UK waters. However, the Agreement also enables a continued commitment by both parties to maintain sustainable and fair fisheries policies. 

There is also the imposition of a quota (i.e. limit) on the value of the fish caught in the UK’s Economic Exclusion Zone. This will increase gradually to an average of 25% over a five-and-a-half-year period.

For further information regarding the Trade deal, please visit: 

Summary of Agreement

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/agreements-reached-between-the-united-kingdom-of-great-britain-and-northern-ireland-and-the-european-union/summary-explainer

Travel Information

https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021 

This article is intended for guidance only and must not be relied upon for specific advice.

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