14 January 2021

The UK and the EU have agreed upon the terms for their future relationship. This comprises three agreements:

  1. the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the 'TCA')
  1. the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (the 'NCA')
  1. the Agreement on Security Procedures for Exchanging and Protecting Classified Information.

These agreements are supplemented by a number of joint political declarations and an exchange of letters.

The TCA was enacted into UK law on 31 December 2020 by the European Union (Future Relationship Act) 2020 and has largely been in effect in the UK and the EU since 1 January 2021 (it still has some formal hurdles to clear on the EU side).

The implementation of the TCA marks the transition point for UK/EU relations between Brexit and international trade. It covers a catalogue of issues, such as:

  • zero tariffs and quotas on trade in goods – although tariffs and quotas have been eliminated, there are potential complications arising from rules of origin
  • level playing field – such as competition and state aid rules
  • procurement – access for UK and EU firms has been extended beyond the GPA minimum
  • transport – trains, planes, boats and lorries will keep crossing borders but are subject to new rules and there will be new paperwork
  • financial services – mostly to be confirmed in separate agreements (the UK and EU are rumoured to have a soft deadline of March 2021 for this)
  • the EU internal energy market – the UK has access and there is a mutual net zero by 2050 requirement (nuclear cooperation is mostly dealt with by the NCA)
  • data protection – there is temporary acceptance of the UK’s regime and the EU is conducting an adequacy assessment in parallel for longer term recognition
  • intellectual property – there are provisions for equal treatment and the protection of IP rights
  • trade dispute resolution – binding international arbitration with tariff-based remedies
  • border regulation – there is no mutual recognition of conformity assessments or phytosanitary standards and the UK is phasing in additional requirements for imports, but schemes have been established to speed up border checks
  • services – although the provisions are currently quite limited
  • access to some EU programmes – such as Euratom

How Burges Salmon can help you

Burges Salmon’s sector specialists and cross-departmental teams are ready to help you with any enquiries you have relating to this new regime.

Key contact

Ian Tucker

Ian Tucker Partner

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Procurement Disputes
  • Procurement and Subsidy Control

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Chris Seaton Senior Partner

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