Implications of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on trade in goods
On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom announced the conclusion of their negotiations of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part (“EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement” or “the TCA”) intended to settle their future relationship. The United Kingdom left the European Union at the end of 31 January 2020 but a status quo was maintained as a result of the Withdrawal Agreement. That agreement provided for a transition period due to end on 31 December 2020.
On 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom (“UK”) will no longer form part of the European Union (“EU”) Single Market (comprising the free movement of persons, goods, services and the freedom of capital) and the EU customs union. The TCA does not alter that fact. Instead, it sets separate terms for the relationship between the EU and the UK.
The TCA consists of seven parts and a series of annexes and protocols. The TCA must also be read together with a series of declarations. The main substantive parts of the TCA concern: (i) trade, transport, fisheries and other arrangements (Part Two); (ii) law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Part Three); (iii) health and cyber security (Part Four); and (iv) participation in Union programmes, sound financial management and financial provisions (Part Five). Part Six establishes a dispute settlement system and sets out a series of horizontal provisions. The parties to the TCA might conclude further bilateral agreements, supplementing the TCA (Article COMPROV.2.1).
This client alert offers a general overview of the aspects of the TCA (especially Part Two) affecting generally trade in goods as well as digital trade. This alert does not cover the provisions of the TCA concerning notably services, investment and intellectual property rights. It must be read together with other client alerts on more specific aspects of the TCA that Van Bael & Bellis will prepare.
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