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EU and UK strike Brexit trade deal

2020-December-25       Source: CCTV.com

The UK has struck a trade deal with the EU ahead of the Brexit deadline of December 31.

The UK has struck a trade deal with the EU ahead of the Brexit deadline of December 31.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it "was a deal worth fighting for" while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed to have taken back "control of laws, borders, trade and fisheries."

A deal had appeared unlikely with the two parties wrangling over fishing rights in UK waters but an agreement has been reached after talks continued into the early hours of this morning.

Further calls between Johnson and Von der Leyen, took place on Thursday morning, which helped to get the deal over the line.

The EU and UK now have one week to formally ratify the deal in London and Brussels - failure to do so could see tariffs imposed on goods traded between the pair from January 1.

What do we know about the deal so far?

The finer details of the reported 2,000 page deal haven't yet been made public, but if the two sides have struck a zero-tariff and zero-quota free trade agreement, as the UK claims, it will smooth trade in goods that makes up half their $900 billion in annual commerce.

Fisheries was a key sticking point in the deal. The EU catches nearly $815m worth of fish in UK waters every year and wanted to retain its access. However, the UK wanted to take back control and prioritise its own boats after January 1, leading to months of haggling.

Johnson hasn't revealed how much access the EU will retain, but says the transition period for the implementation of the new rules will be five and a half years - significantly less time than the 14 years he claims the EU originally wanted.

Details were also scarce about the relationship between the UK's financial services sector and the EU - which makes up 80 percent of the UK's economy, but Johnson said the "City of London will continue to prosper" and could potentially do more deals with EU member states.

However, one area he was less enthused about was the UK's decision to leave the Erasmus scheme, an initiative that allows students to study at European universities during their studies.

He said it "cost an awful lot of money" and would be replaced by a similar initiative called the "Turing scheme", named after Alan Turing, the codebreaker who famously helped to break Germany's Enigma Code during World War Two.

Meanwhile, there has been a generally positive reaction from other European leaders. Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said the deal was "balanced" and "avoids a return of a hard border with Northern Ireland", that will help to maintain peace between the two nations.

More details will undoubtedly emerge as the deal goes forward to be ratified by the UK Parliament. Eurosceptic lawmakers who have provided much of the political impetus for Brexit have recruited specialist lawyers to examine every line before they decide whether to support it.

Members of the European Parliament won't get to consider the deal until early in the New Year.

Editor: 张诗雨

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