EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

Protecting the interests of the European Union, ensuring fair competition and pursuing cooperation in areas of mutual interest

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK provides for preferential arrangements in areas such as trade in goods and services, digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, aviation and road transport, energy, fisheries, …

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While it will by no means match the level of economic integration that existed when the UK was a member state of the EU, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement goes beyond traditional free trade agreements(The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement) and provides a solid basis for preserving our long-standing friendship and cooperation.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement was signed on December 30, 2020, applied provisionally from January 1, 2021 and entered into force on May 1, 2021.

The trade and cooperation agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom includes :

  • A free trade agreement, with ambitious cooperation on economic, social, environmental and fisheries issues,
  •  a close partnership on citizen security,
  •  a comprehensive governance framework.

Foreign policy, external security and defense cooperation are not covered by the agreement, as the UK did not want to negotiate this issue. As of January 2021, there is therefore no framework in place between the UK and the EU to develop and coordinate joint responses to foreign policy challenges, such as the imposition of sanctions on third-country nationals or economies.

Furthermore, the TCA does not cover any decisions on equivalence for financial services, the adequacy of the UK’s data protection regime, or the assessment of the UK’s sanitary and phytosanitary regime for the purposes of including it on the list of third countries authorized to export food products to the EU. These are unilateral decisions by the EU and are not subject to negotiation.

Free trade agreement

– It provides for zero duties and zero quotas on all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin.

– Both parties are committed to ensuring a level playing field by maintaining high levels of protection in areas such as environmental protection, climate change and carbon pricing, labor and social rights, fiscal transparency and state aid, with effective domestic enforcement, a binding dispute settlement mechanism and the possibility for both parties to take corrective action.

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– The EU and the UK have agreed a new framework for the joint management of fish stocks in EU and UK waters. The UK will be able to further develop British fishing activities, while the activities and livelihoods of European fishing communities will be safeguarded and natural resources preserved.

– In terms of transport, the agreement provides for continuous and sustainable air, road, rail and maritime connectivity, although market access is inferior to that offered by the single market.

– On energy, the agreement provides for a new model of trade and interconnectivity, with guarantees of open and fair competition, including on safety standards for foreign and renewable energy production.

– With regard to the coordination of social security, the agreement aims to guarantee a certain number of rights to EU citizens and British nationals. This concerns EU citizens who work, travel or move to the UK, and UK nationals who work, travel or move to the EU after January 1, 2021.

– Finally, the agreement allows the UK to continue to participate in a number of flagship EU programs for the period 2021-2027 (subject to a UK financial contribution to the EU budget), such as Horizon Europe.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishes a new framework for law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal and civil matters. It recognizes the need for close cooperation between national police and judicial authorities, particularly in combating and prosecuting cross-border crime and terrorism.

It builds new operational capabilities, taking account of the fact that the UK, as a non-EU member outside the Schengen area, will not have the same facilities as before.

The trade and cooperation agreement establishes a Joint Partnership Council, which will ensure that the agreement is correctly applied and interpreted, and in which all issues raised will be discussed.

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This means that EU and UK businesses compete on a level playing field, and will avoid either party using its regulatory autonomy to provide unfair subsidies or distort competition. The agreement provides for the possibility of adopting rebalancing, corrective, compensatory and safeguard measures.

Both parties can take intersectoral reprisals in the event of a breach of the trade and cooperation agreement. These intersectoral reprisals apply to all areas of the economic partnership. Specific suspension clauses apply to law enforcement and judicial cooperation in the event of a Party failing to meet its obligations.

Under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, no customs duties apply to trade between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The agreement also establishes a privileged relationship between the UK and the EU in trade, investment and investment matters…

As the above information may change over time, it is provided for information purposes only and is non-contractual.