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The Prime Minister gave a statement on the outcome of negotiations with the European Union on Thursday 24 December 2020

In his statement he announced that the United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement governing future trade relations from 1 January 2021, that will see no tariffs or quotas on the movement of goods produced between the UK and the EU.  An explainer document is available here.


More details will be published over the coming days and businesses should visit http://www.GOV.UK/transition for the latest information and to check what actions their business will need to undertake, to continue trading with the EU.


Key point from the agreement include:


Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The Agreement includes commitments to provide SMEs with clear and accessible online information about the Agreement, helping them to trade and do business in the UK and the EU. This covers customs procedures, intellectual property rights, and public procurement. The Agreement commits the UK and the EU to provide for a searchable online database, on measures such as customs duties, taxes and rules of origin.


Moving Goods

The United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed 100% tariff liberalisation. This means that there will be no tariffs or quotas on the movement of goods between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant Rules of Origin.


Business Services

The Agreement includes provisions to support trade in services (including financial services and legal services). This will provide many UK service suppliers with legal guarantees that they will not face barriers to trade when selling into the EU and will support the mobility of UK professionals who will continue to do business across the EU.

In line with common FTA practice, the Technical Barriers to Trade Chapter also includes a number of sector-specific Annexes which seek to promote cooperation and tackle barriers to trade in the automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, organic products and wine sectors



The Annex on medicinal products provides for mutual recognition of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspections and certificates, meaning that manufacturing facilities do not need to undergo separate UK and EU inspections, as well as ongoing co-operation.


Motor Vehicles

The Annex confirms that both the UK and the EU will mutually recognise approvals based on UN regulations. It establishes dedicated cooperation mechanisms to address regulatory barriers and provides for information exchange to support activities including market surveillance.



The Annex seeks to facilitate trade in chemicals, ensure high levels of environmental and health protection and provides for cooperation between authorities. It includes joint commitments to comprehensive implementation of international classification and labelling rules as well as commitments to ongoing cooperation and information exchange.


Food and Drink

The Annex will provide for an equivalence agreement between organic products in the UK and the EU. This means products that are certified as organic in one market will be recognised as organic in the other.

The Annex provides for simplified certification, documentation, labelling and packaging requirements for the imports of wine produced in the UK or the EU, reducing costs for exporters and consumers. It also sets out requirements to share information and to jointly review the agreement in future with a view to further facilitating trade in wine.


Travel between the UK and EU

The Agreement also includes arrangements for airlines and hauliers that provides them with certainty and gives people the ability to travel to and from the EU easily. It also includes a social security agreement that has practical benefits for UK citizens including accessing healthcare when travelling in the EU.


Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications

The Agreement clarifies that the provisions on professional qualifications are without prejudice to alternative arrangements that the UK may agree with the EU, allowing for improved mechanisms to be agreed in future. Agreements will be negotiated on a profession-by-profession basis.


Digital Trade

These provisions will promote trade in digital services and facilitate new forms of trade in goods and services. The provision helps to facilitate the cross-border flow of data by prohibiting requirements to store or process data in a certain location. This prevents the imposition of costly requirements for British businesses.

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