The long-awaited trade deal between the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK), following Britain’s exit from the EU, came to a successful conclusion on Thursday.
It followed months of long and intense negotiations between the parties.
At a Downing Street news conference, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said: “We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny.” Although the detail of the agreement has yet to be released, the Prime Minister claimed it was a “good deal for the whole of Europe”.
The UK is set to exit EU trading rules on Thursday – a year after officially leaving the 27 nation bloc.
The deal will mean big changes for business, with the UK and EU forming two separate markets and the end of free movement.
Johnson admitted that the agreement reflected what both sides wanted to achieve The trade deal will come as a major relief to many British businesses, already reeling from the impact of coronavirus, who feared disruption at the borders and the imposition of tariffs, or taxes on imports.
As the deal was announced, Johnson – who had repeatedly said the UK would “prosper mightily” without a deal – tweeted a picture of himself smiling with both thumbs lifted in the air, according to Reuters
In Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “This was a long and winding road but we have got a good deal to show for it,” adding that the deal was “fair” and balanced” adding that it is “time to turn the page and look to the future”. The UK “remains a trusted partner,” she stated.
Boris Johnson said the £668 billion a year agreement would “protect jobs across this country” and “enable UK goods to be sold without tariffs, without quotas in the EU market”. He nevertheless acknowledged that he had been forced to yield ground on his demands on fishing.
The UK Chief Trade negotiator Lord Frost said the full text of the free trade agreement would be published soon. The UK Parliament will be recalled on 30 December to vote on the deal – it will also need to be ratified by the European Parliament.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – who campaigned against Brexit – said his party would vote for the deal in the Commons, ensuring it will pass, saying it was “a thin agreement” that “does not provide adequate protections” for jobs, manufacturing, financial services or workplace rights and “is not the deal the government promised.
“But with no time left to renegotiate, the only choice was between “this deal or no deal,” he added. No deal would have “terrible consequences for this country and the Labour Party cannot allow that to happen”.