Today, the President of the EC signed the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement following the green light by EU member states to the provisional application of the EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement as of 1 January 2021. With Boris Johnson signing later today and agreement of the EU and UK Parliaments, this finalises the agreement which you will find attached or with this link.
On border procedures: when compared to no deal the deal changes very little in terms of border procedures. All formalities and checks will still be required. In short:
- The UK will phase-in border formalities over 6 months (customs and SPS)
- The EU will introduce full formalities as of 1 Jan 2021 (customs + SPS)
- The Irish sea border will also be fully operational as of 1 Jan 2021 with some short-term SPS easements.
For EU goods coming into Great Britain, safety and security declarations will not be required until July 2021. But goods moving from GB to the EU (and GB to NI) will require safety and security declarations from 1 January 2021. The agreement includes mutual recognition of trusted trader (Authorised Economic Operator) schemes.
On customs cooperation the text is comprehensive and covers standard provisions plus elements from the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. There is equally a Protocol on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters.
As a reminder, the Commission's guidance note on customs, including preferential origin rules, issued on the 23rd December, is available here.
With regards to road freight transport: As of 1 January 2021, UK companies will no longer hold an EU licence or be able to perform transport services within the Union as part of the Single Market. The draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for quota-free point-to-point access for operators transporting goods by road between the EU and the UK. This means UK lorries would be able to reach the EU and return from the EU, including when not loaded. The same rights are conferred to EU hauliers travelling from any point in the EU to the UK, and back from the UK to anywhere in the EU. UK and EU trucks will also be able to perform up to two additional operations in the other party's territory, once they have crossed the border. This will allow EU hauliers that carry a load to the UK to perform two cabotage operations in the UK, thus limiting the risk of having to travel back to the EU without a load.
For UK hauliers, these additional operations can be composed of two cross-trade operations (i.e. transport operations between two Member States) or one cross-trade and one “cabotage” operation (i.e. a transport operation within two points of a single Member State). Special provisions are made in the case of Ireland, as Northern Irish hauliers will be able to perform two cabotage operations in Ireland. The Agreement also provides for full transit rights across each other's territories (to reach third countries or other parts of their own territory).
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