The new UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement represents the culmination of many months of negotiation following entry into force of a transitional period until 31 December 2020 under the terms of the earlier Withdrawal Agreement.
As of 1 January 2021, the rules of the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union will no longer apply to the UK, save in respect of Northern Ireland. However the new Agreement does provide for the whole of the UK to continue to have tariff and quota access to the EU market, and vice versa. In most other respects, and unless otherwise specified, the UK will in future trade with the EU on the same terms as any other non-member country.
This means that there will be new border checks and controls (for people, goods and animals) involving new forms of documentation and certification, which will need to be completed in advance.
A UK Government Summary Explainer of the new Agreement can be found here.
Further UK information is available at Gov.UK/transition.
Despite the Agreement now reached, businesses should not underestimate the extent of these changes, or the potential for delay and disruption, particularly at the outset.
Details of what is currently known about what is going to happen are set out in the following sections, which will be continuously updated as new information emerges.