January 21
2021
Daniel Sarmiento
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24th December 2020
General Development

EU and UK close Trade and Cooperation Agreement, aiming at provisional entry into force on 1 January 2021

The European Union and the United Kingdom announced today that an agreement has been struck on the future EU-UK trade relationship following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The agreement was closed a few days before the expiry of the transitional period introduced in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, set on 31 December 2020.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement is an ambitious framework that goes beyond trade in goods and services, thus including specific chapters on energy, tax, competition, State aid, data protection, social security, security and a comprehensive governance infrastructure. However, other areas remain outside the scope of this agreement and will force the UK, as of 1 January 2021, to restart cooperation with the EU in such fields, such as foreign policy, external security and defence.

Although the UK will leave the Customs Union, the agreement introduces a zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods that comply with rules of origin.

Both parties announced their commitment to ensure “a robust level playing field by maintaining high levels of protection in areas such as environmental protection, the fight against climate change and carbon pricing, social and labour rights, tax transparency and State aid, with effective, domestic enforcement, a binding dispute settlement mechanism and the possibility for both parties to take remedial measures”.

The EU 27 Member States must now unanimously vote on the agreement, paving the way to the Commission’s request to provide a provisional entry into force as of 1 January 2020 until 28 February 2021. This period will allow the European Parliament to undergo scrutiny of the agreement and hold a vote on it in the early weeks of 2021.

Read the Commission’s official announcement here.

The text of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is not yet available.

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