UK-EU Trade and Cooperation AgreementGulistan Ladha
The UK and European Union finally agreed on a deal that will define the future relationship.
Briefly, on tariffs, there will be 100% liberalisation – zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin. A broad range of other areas such as investment, competition, state aid, tax transparency and data protection is covered, as well as the ability for the UK’s continued participation in several flagship EU programmes for the period 2021-2027, subject to a financial contribution by the UK to the EU budget. Cooperation on foreign policy, external security or defence are not included.
On telecoms – the provisions on telecoms regulation lock in existing levels of liberalisation in UK and EU markets. It includes standard provisions on authorisations, access to and use of telecoms networks, interconnection, fair and transparent regulation and the allocation of scarce resources. The provision on authorisation is the most liberalised authorisation regime agreed in any FTA, ensuring businesses from either side won’t have to wait for prior authorisation before they begin to deliver services. This gives operators access to EU telecoms markets. It encourages cooperation on the promotion of fair and transparent rates for international mobile roaming and covers obligations on net neutrality, which fulfils the UK’s dual aims of securing commitments towards an open internet and protecting the safety of users online.
On digital trade – there will be no requirements to store or process data in a certain location, and strong data protection commitments by both the UK and the EU are included. The agreement includes online consumer protection and anti-spam provisions giving consumers strong protections when buying from businesses in either the UK or the EU.
In the UK, the House of Commons has been recalled for 30 December and the House of Lords will meet on the same day to consider the draft legislation. In parallel, the European Council, acting by the unanimity of all 27 Member States, will need to adopt a decision authorising the signature of the agreement and its application as of 01 January.