Daily Management Review

EU-UK trade agreement to come into force on 1 May


The EU has completed the ratification procedure for the trade and cooperation agreement with the UK and it will finally enter into force on 1 May, the EU Council said in a statement.

The agreement, under which the country and the union continue to trade without duties or quotas, is in provisional regime until 30 April. The deadline for this regime was previously extended so that the parties could ratify the document.

"The Council today decided to conclude the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement," the release reads.

This is the latest step in the EU's ratification of the document.

The EU will now notify the UK and publish the text of the agreement in the Official Journal of the EU by the end of the month.

On the first of May 2021, the agreement will enter into force, the Council said.

This week, the European Parliament, in a plenary session, ratified the document by an overwhelming vote of 660 in favour and 5 against.

The UK left the EU and a transition period ended on January 1 this year, during which almost everything in relations between the country and the union remained as before. This also applied to trade: the sides did not apply duties and quotas to each other's goods, because the UK continued to be subject to the rules of the EU single market.

The current trade and cooperation agreement was reached at the very end of December 2020 after difficult and lengthy negotiations, just days before the key end date of the transit period. Without this agreement, the parties' economic relations would have moved abruptly into a new phase, which would have entailed a host of tangible problems.

However, since it was concluded in the nick of time, it could not be ratified before January 1. Therefore the parties decided to apply it on a provisional basis.

The EU has repeatedly stressed that the agreement cannot give the UK all the benefits of trade with the union that it had as an EU member state.

source: reuters.com