A week before the end of the transition period between the UK and the EU, an agreement was reached on post-Brexit trade and other issues.
It avoided the interruption of a no-deal Brexit during the Covid pandemic and marked a new era in the United Kingdom more than 40 years after joining the European Union.
We have now seen a copy of the text-over a thousand pages of dense legal text outlining how this relationship will work in the future. The following are 10 initial questions and answers:
One of the most difficult questions in the negotiations: how many fish will EU ships catch in British waters in the future, and how long will the transition period last before the new measures are fully implemented? Officials involved in the negotiations said that the UK initially hoped to reduce the value of fish caught by EU ships in British waters by 80%, while the EU initially proposed to reduce it by 18%. Who gave more land?
Answer: The value of fish caught by the European Union in British waters will be reduced by 25%, which is much lower than what the UK originally requested. The cuts will be implemented in phases during a transitional period of five and a half years, which is much shorter than the EU originally requested.
Once the transition period is over, the UK will fully control the use of its waters and may make deeper cuts. If it decides to exclude EU fishing vessels, it can compensate for losses by imposing tariffs on British fishery products (or other commodities) exported to the EU or by preventing British fishing vessels from fishing in EU waters.
2. “Fair playing field”
What will be the rules of fair competition to ensure that companies on one side will not gain an unfair advantage over competitors on the other side? It will be important to define a reasonable level of state aid or government subsidies to enterprises.
Answer: There are measures to level the playing field so that both the UK and the EU are committed to safeguarding common standards for workers’ rights and many social and environmental regulations.
This is a key requirement of the European Union. They do not have to be identical in the future, so the UK does not have to follow EU law, but they must be regarded as objects of protection of fair competition. The UK also agreed to abide by common principles on how the state aid system works and to follow an independent competition agency to evaluate it.
But it can choose to develop a system that only makes decisions after presenting evidence of unfair competition. This is different from the EU system, which assesses the possible impact of subsidies before they are issued.
3. Dispute Resolution
This will be the subject of negotiations in the next few years. If any party violates any terms and conditions, how will the transaction be actually executed? If the UK chooses to fundamentally get rid of EU rules in the future, how will the EU respond quickly? Does it have the ability to impose tariffs (or taxon British exports) in one area (for example, on cars) in response to violations of the agreement in another area (for example, fish)?
Answer: If either party deviates from the general standard on December 31, 2020, and has a negative impact on the other party, it can trigger a dispute mechanism, which may mean imposing tariffs (commodity taxes).
It is based on a “rebalancing” clause, which gives both the EU and the UK the right to take measures when there are major differences. This clause is much stricter than the measures in other recent EU trade agreements and is a key European requirement. In the next few years, we may hear more about this mechanism.
The overall security of the trade agreement also means that due to a dispute between another sector, tariffs can be targeted at a specific sector. Officials from both parties will establish a binding arbitration system.
This means that even if this is a tariff-free agreement, the threat of tariffs due to future disputes will be a constant factor in the relationship between Britain and Europe.
4. European Court of Justice (ECJ)
The EU Supreme Court will continue to be the ultimate arbiter of European law. However, the British government stated that the European Court of Justice’s direct jurisdiction in the UK would cease. So, will the European Court of Justice play any role in overseeing future relationship agreements?
Answer: The European Union has abandoned the requirement that the European Court of Justice plays a direct role in the governance of future regulatory agreements. That is a clear British red line. One area where the European Court of Justice will continue to play a role in Northern Ireland, which has a special status under the terms of the Brexit agreement.
It will continue to be bound by the EU’s single market and customs union rules, which means that the European Court of Justice will remain the highest legal authority for certain disputes in parts of the UK.
What are the rules for Britons who will travel to the European Union from January 1, 2021? We already know some details, but will we reach other agreements on issues such as social security or vehicle insurance? Are there any details regarding any arrangements for replacing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
Answer: If the British national wants to stay in the EU for more than 90 days Within 180 days, a visa is required. They can still use their own EHICs, and these EHICs will remain valid until they expire.
The British government has stated that it will be replaced by the new British Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), but there is currently no more detailed information on how to obtain the card.
The EU pet passport will no longer be valid, but people can travel with pets through another, more complicated process.
The two parties agreed to cooperate on international mobile roaming, but there is nothing in the agreement to prevent British travelers from being charged for using mobile phones in the European Union and vice versa.
The government also stated that British citizens do not need an international driver’s license to drive in the EU (unless they still have a paper driver’s license or an Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, or Gibraltar driver’s license). But they will need to bring a green card to prove that they have the correct vehicle insurance.
6. Financial Services
Trade agreements are mainly about cross-border cargo rules. There is much less talk about trade in services. Will the EU have a separate statement that will recognize that the UK’s rules governing financial services are rough “equivalent” to EU rules? This will make it easier for British companies exporting services to continue their business in the EU market.
Answer: As expected, there is not much in the agreement to please the service company. The UK will still hope that the EU will issue a “peer” decision on financial services in the near future, but in general, service companies have not received the help the UK government has been seeking in this transaction.
An agreement has been reached to continue discussions on financial services regulation in the future, but some companies may have to apply to a specific EU country to operate in that country. Guaranteed visits for British companies to enter the EU single market have ended.
7. Information or Data
This is a very important question. For UK companies that process data from the EU, what will be the data protection rules? Third, the UK hopes that the EU will issue a separate so-called data adequacy decision to recognize that the UK’s rules are equivalent to its own rules. But the details need to be carefully checked.
Answer: Both parties expressed their hope that data can flow across borders as smoothly as possible, but the agreement also emphasizes that individuals have the right to protect personal data and privacy, and “high standards in this area help people trust in the digital economy. And promote trade development .”
This is why the European Union’s decision to officially recognize that the UK data rules are roughly the same as itself is so important, and we are still waiting.
At the same time, the European Union has agreed to set the “designated period” to four months, which can be extended for another two months. As long as the UK does not change its relevant regulations, it can exchange data in a current way. Data protection.
8. Product Standard
We know that there will be more bureaucracy and border delays in the future for companies trading between the UK and the EU. But will both parties agree to take any measures to make things easier? There is a kind of “mutually recognized conformity assessment”, which means that the inspection of product standards does not need to be as invasive as other methods.
Answer: Even though the British government hopes that there will be a conformity assessment, it has not reached an agreement. This is just a reminder of how many new trade barriers there will be. In the future, if you want to sell products in both the UK and the EU, you may have to check it twice to get certified.
On other border issues, there is no consensus to recognize each other’s animal-derived food export hygiene and safety standards, which means that products entering the EU single market must be subject to very strict and expensive inspections.
However, some measures will be taken to reduce technical barriers to trade and mutual recognition of trustworthy trader plans, which will make it easier for large companies to operate across borders.
9. Professional qualifications
From accountants to chefs, many people work in different EU countries and don’t have to worry about the UK’s multiple border crossings after joining the EU. But in the future, will British professional qualifications be recognized throughout the EU? What are the restrictions?
Answer: The short answer is “No”-they will not be automatically recognized. This will make it more difficult for British citizens who provide any service to work in the EU. They usually have to apply to various countries to try to obtain their qualifications, but success is not guaranteed.
There is a framework in the agreement for the UK and the EU to reach an agreement on mutual recognition of personal qualifications, but this is weaker than the current professionals.
This is not only related to trade. The UK will lose automatic and immediate access to various EU databases used by the police every day, including criminal records, fingerprints, and wanted criminals. So what kind of access permissions will they have, and how will future security cooperation work?
Answer: The UK will not be able to access some very critical databases, but will continue to access other databases, including a system for cross-checking fingerprints across the African continent. But in general, security cooperation will no longer be based on “real-time” access. In some cases, such as accessing data on the flights people take, these data will only be available under stricter conditions.
An agreement was reached on the issue of extradition, and Britain’s role in the cross-border security agency Europol allowed it to participate in the meeting, but it had no direct say in the decision. Both are positive and can be compared with other best countries.
Disagreements over data will be handled by the new committee, not by the European Court of Justice-again, this is a red line in the UK. But taken together, the speed at which the UK has access to important data and its influence on decision-making has decreased.
There are many other questions to an answer-the agreement will form the basis of the relationship between Britain and the European Union for decades, if not decades. Both parties will have to continue talking about how to implement it most effectively.