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EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement
06 January 2021

Even with the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in place, there are big changes as of 1 January 2021. The UK has left the EU Single Market and Customs Union, as well as all EU policies and international agreements. It put an end to the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital with the EU.

The EU and the UK form two separate markets; two distinct regulatory and legal spaces. This recreates barriers to trade in goods and services and to cross-border mobility and exchanges that have not existed for decades – in both directions, affecting public administrations, businesses, citizens and stakeholders on both sides.

To help them prepare for these unavoidable changes, the Commission issued extensive guidance in a “Readiness Communication” adopted on 9 July 2020 and accompanied by some 90 sectorial notices.

Examples of major changes under the new regime:

The free movement of goods has ended: Customs checks and controls apply to all UK exports entering the EU. UK agri-food consignments have to have health certificates and undergo sanitary and phytosanitary controls at Member States’ border inspection posts. This costs UK businesses time and money;

The free movement of services has ended: UK service providers are no longer benefited from the country-of-origin principle. They have to comply with the – varying – rules of each Member State, or relocate to the EU if they want to continue operating. There is no more mutual recognition of professional qualifications. UK financial services firms have lost their financial services passports;

The free movement of persons has ended: UK citizens no longer have the freedom to work, study, start a business or live in the EU. They need visas for long-term stays in the EU. Border checks apply, passports are needed to be stamped, and EU pet passports are no longer valid for UK residents.

The Agreement reflects the fact that the UK has left the EU’s ecosystem of common rules, supervision and enforcement mechanisms, and can thus no longer enjoy the benefits of membership or the Single Market.

It confers rights and obligations on each party, while fully respecting their regulatory and decisionmaking autonomy.

At the UK’s request, the Agreement does not cover cooperation on foreign policy, external security and defence, even though this was initially foreseen in the Political Declaration.

In B2EU Consulting, we closely follow the next steps of the agreement's implementation in order to inform our clients about the impact of this new challenge on their business. For more information on how we can assist you and your organisation, please contact us at: info@b2eu-consulting.com.

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