The UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive agreement that governs the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Signed on December 30, 2020, it is the culmination of four years of intense negotiations that followed the UK`s decision to leave the EU.
The TCA builds on the existing economic partnership between the UK and the EU and covers a wide range of areas, including goods, services, investment, and intellectual property. It provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods traded between the UK and the EU, subject to certain rules of origin requirements.
The agreement also includes provisions for protecting intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, and designs, as well as provisions for the protection of geographical indications. It also covers various services sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, and transport.
The TCA also establishes a new framework for regulatory cooperation between the UK and the EU, aimed at promoting transparency and reducing non-tariff barriers to trade. Under this framework, both parties have committed to maintaining high standards of regulation and to working together to identify and address regulatory divergence.
The TCA also includes provisions for cooperation on various issues, including climate change, energy, fisheries, and security. It provides for the continued participation of the UK in certain EU programs, such as Horizon Europe, the EU`s flagship research and innovation program.
One of the most significant aspects of the TCA is the establishment of a Partnership Council, which will oversee the implementation and evolution of the agreement. The Council will meet at least once a year and will be responsible for resolving any issues or disputes that may arise under the agreement.
Overall, the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement is a significant achievement that provides certainty and stability for businesses and consumers on both sides of the Channel. It marks the beginning of a new era in the UK-EU relationship, one that is based on a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. As the UK begins its new journey outside the EU, the TCA provides a solid foundation for a prosperous future.