The new EU-UK TCA agreement: What does it mean?
On December 24, 2020, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) reached a historic agreement on their future relationship after the UK left the EU. The agreement, known as the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), is a comprehensive free trade agreement that covers a wide range of areas, from trade and investment to security and fisheries. In this article, we will take a closer look at what the EU-UK TCA agreement means and how it will impact the relationship between the EU and the UK.
Trade and Investment
The EU-UK TCA agreement establishes a comprehensive free trade area, which means that there will be no tariffs or quotas on trade in goods between the EU and the UK. This is a significant achievement, as it creates a level playing field for businesses on both sides and ensures that they can continue to trade without any disruption or additional costs.
In addition to trade in goods, the EU-UK TCA agreement also covers other areas of trade, such as services, investment, and intellectual property. For example, it provides for mutual recognition of professional qualifications, which will facilitate the movement of people between the EU and the UK and enable professionals to work in each other`s markets.
However, the EU-UK TCA agreement does not cover all aspects of trade and investment. For example, it does not provide for mutual recognition of financial services, which is a significant sector for both the EU and the UK. The agreement also does not cover the UK`s participation in the EU`s research and development programmes, such as Horizon Europe.
The EU-UK TCA agreement also covers security cooperation between the EU and the UK. It establishes a framework for cooperation on issues such as counter-terrorism, cyber security, and law enforcement. The agreement also provides for the exchange of information and the participation of the UK in certain EU agencies, such as Europol and Eurojust.
One of the most contentious issues during the negotiations for the EU-UK TCA agreement was fisheries. The UK is a major fishing nation, and it wanted to take back control of its waters after leaving the EU. The EU, however, wanted to maintain access to UK waters for its fishermen.
The EU-UK TCA agreement provides for a transition period of five and a half years during which the EU will gradually reduce its fishing quotas in UK waters. After this period, the UK will have full control of its waters and can decide on access for EU fishermen.
The EU-UK TCA agreement is a significant achievement and a step towards the normalisation of the relationship between the EU and the UK after Brexit. The agreement creates a level playing field for businesses on both sides, ensures the continuity of trade, and provides a framework for cooperation on security issues.
However, the EU-UK TCA agreement is not perfect, and there are still areas of disagreement between the EU and the UK, such as financial services and the UK`s participation in EU research programmes. Both sides will need to continue to work together to resolve these issues and build a positive and constructive relationship for the future.