EU UK Free Trade Agreement agreed subject to ratification

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At last, four years after the country voted to leave the UK and following nine months of negotiations that many said should have taken 12 years, The EU has agreed a UK Free Trade Agreement which largely means tariff free trade with no limitations on the quantity of goods that can move across the border.

Naturally, like Santa arriving just in time for Christmas, Boris swung into action at the end of negotiations with a flurry of calls to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen with the final call this afternoon. Being elected to sort the stalemate Theresa May left him with, it’s no surprise to see Boris in perhaps what he will forever view as his greatest moment of triumph as he tweets the double thumbs up picture above. Boris struck a transition agreement deal when everyone said it could never be reopened for revision and now he’s struck the UK Free Trade Agreement with the EU so can be excused for his evident delight in being the saviour, jumping in at the 24th hour to save the day.

The deal itself will forever be marked as the biggest trade deal in history which actually reduces free trade and increases barriers – every previous trade deal aimed to increase trade and reduce barriers. This means that the EU UK Free Trade Agreement doesn’t mean that there will be no obstacles to trade, there will be customs forms to fill out and checks at the borders but it’s way better than no agreement at all.

When he swept to his 80 seat majority, much of it was on the premise that Boris would ‘Get Brexit done’ and for many this was about sovereignty and for many this meant control of Fisheries in British waters. So it’s natural that this was the final sticking point which took the deal past every deadline set and today meant totting up how many cod, mackerel and prawns the EU would be allowed to catch. The EU wanted a 14 year transition period for fisheries, the UK wanted 3 years and they shook hands at 5.

There are still many details to be ironed out, not least of which is getting the deal signed off by the UK Parliament and then by the remaining 27 EU nations who all have to agree.

For Tamebay readers, the main issues facing them on their return to work on the 4th of January will be are couriers actually shipping and if so what paperwork is now needed. Many couriers planned to pause over the Christmas period due to Brexit uncertainty and then ended up suspending services earlier due to France slamming the borders shut.

For many however, Christmas Eve is not the time to overly worry about the EU UK Free Trade Deal. There’s a slimmed down pandemic Christmas to make the most of tomorrow and then increased restrictions on our daily lives due to increased Tier Levels across much of the UK from Boxing Day. However, this historic deal really does matter so sign up for our January webinar when we’ll be picking through the news to set out how it impacts your business.

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