Main changes

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement represented the culmination of many months of negotiation following entry into force of a transitional period to 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 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 trade with the EU on the same terms as any other non-member country.

This means there are new border checks in place and controls (for people, goods and animals) involving new forms of documentation and certification, which need to be completed in advance.

A UK Government Summary Explainer of the new Agreement can be found here.

The European Commission has produced its own high level Overview of Consequences and Benefits together with a more detailed Brochure explaining the main changes.

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 in place, are set out in the following sections, which is continuously updated as new information emerges.

Trader webinars

View webinars for exporters of animals and products of animal origin to the EU. Follow the links below for:


EU guidance

Guidance: Sanitary and phytosanitary controls on goods imported from the UK into EU entering via France - French Ministry for Agriculture and Food


Defra Helplines

Select the most appropriate Helpline for the commodity you are exporting to the EU at