11 January 2021
flow reports on responses to the long-awaited EU-UK trade deal, concluded just days before the transition period expired on 31 December 2020
For European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) “will lay a solid foundation for a new beginning with a long-term friend”.
It is, according to UK Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson “a deal which will, if anything, allow our companies and our exporters to do even more business with our European friends”. Yet for the European Commission it creates (as stated in the agreement) “new barriers to trade in goods and services, and to cross-border mobility and exchanges that do not exist today – in both directions”.1 And echoing the view of many sceptics, Global Trade Review’s senior reporter Eleanor Wragg2 describes it as “better than nothing” but no more.
These verdicts were among the first responses to the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), a 1,246-page document agreed on 24 December 2020. While the UK formally departed from the European Union at the end of January that year, the remaining months of 2020 provided a transition period in which to agree a new deal with the EU on which to base a future trading relationship with its ex-member.
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