The United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) signed an interim free trade agreement last Thursday which will govern economic relations between the two countries from 1 January.
The agreement covers not only trade in goods and services but also a wide range of other areas of interest to the EU such as competition, fisheries, road and air transport and energy and sustainability. However, many aspects of the future relationship remain unresolved and are unlikely to be resolved in the long term.
Trade: free without tariffs and quotas
From 1 January 2021, the UK will be outside the EU’s single market and customs union. This means that the customs, regulatory and border control rules that the EU requires from third countries will from then on apply to the UK, leading to more red tape for business and adjustments to supply chains. There will also be increased customs formalities and controls on UK goods entering the EU, with more delays at the borders.
However, the agreement reached last Thursday will allow trade without tariffs (tariffs) and quotas (maximum volume of each product) between the two parties, “the first agreement signed by the EU” to include this, Johnson said, although there will be monitoring to ensure the UK maintains the required labour, environmental and tax standards.
The transitional period set out in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Withdrawal Agreement from the European Union ended on 31 December 2020. According to the aforementioned Agreement, British citizens and their family members who lived in Spain and who have documented their status as residents in Spanish territory before 31 December 2020 will retain the same rights they had until that date. By contrast, British citizens who do not provide documentary evidence of their residence before 31 December, or who enter Spanish territory after that date, will be subject to the general rules on foreign nationals.
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