Editor's Note: The UK/EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement

Posted on 01 February 2021

Neil Baylis, Partner, Dispute Resolution

I January 2021 saw the end of the Transition Period and the UK finally complete its legal separation from the European Union. Shortly beforehand the EU and UK agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), setting out in just over 1200 pages, arrangements for future trade in goods and services, security and general cooperation. While Brexit was the end of one legal and constitutional framework for the UK, the TCA marks the beginning of a new one with the UK regarded as a "third country" under EU law.

The EU was founded on four freedoms – that of goods, capital, services and people. These no longer apply to the UK. The effect is significant on all aspects of cross-border activity for businesses and individuals. Even purely domestic businesses are unlikely to be unaffected, for example in terms of recruitment of staff from the EU, or sourcing raw materials or data.

The links below are to a series of articles addressing some of the key issues – both in general terms such as the trade in goods and services, and IP, to more specific areas such as the effect on the aviation and automotive markets.

We hope you find these articles of interest. Although they aim to state the position as it is now, the law is developing fast, and regular monitoring will be required. The TCA has established numerous working groups to review specific issues and to seek to develop a consensus for closer collaboration. Some areas such as financial passporting are likely to remain difficult to resolve given the political as well as economic issues at stake, others such as more efficient customs procedures are more likely to be seen as beneficial by both sides. Meanwhile, the UK continues to seek to enter into trade agreements with other countries such as the USA which may in themselves create potential conflicts for closer collaboration with the EU.

Please get in touch if you have any queries, or if there are any issues you would like us to address in future articles.

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