The UK Government and European Commission have reached a deal today on the future trading relationship from 1 January – the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement.
The key elements are:
- Zero-tariff, zero-quota trade in goods.
- Qualifying goods must meet the terms of the product specific rules of origin. Traders may self-certify the origin of goods and enjoy "full cumulation" (both processing and materials).
- Level-playing field in terms of existing labour, social, environmental rules but with ability to diverge subject to measures including tariffs where there is trade distortion. Review of LPF in 2025.
- Sectoral annexes on pharmaceuticals, chemicals, organics, and wines.
- No mutual recognition on conformity assessment on electrical and industrial goods. Self-declaration of conformity of low-risk products possible to make it easier to sell in both markets.
- Mutual recognition of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status to facilitate customs processes and new customs, safety and security declarations.
- Co-operation and dialogue on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures but paperwork required on cross-border food movements. UK has unilateral easements here during the first three and six months, in respect of GB.
The deal secures many of the main objectives set by the BRC and the industry over the past year since the start of the future relationship negotiations, so the key elements are very much welcome in avoiding tariffs on everyday goods, providing some relief for cross-border traders, and offering the basis of future co-operation.
The UK Parliament will sit next Wednesday to pass a Bill giving effect to the deal. EU institutions will meet over Christmas to provisionally apply the deal and give it effect in time for 1 January.
The BRC will be examining the draft Trade and Co-operation Agreement and other documents accompanying the deal over the coming days. We will outline our findings to our members and associates on Wednesday, with briefings available afterwards. Keep checking the Brexit Hub for the latest news and guidance over Christmas