UK and EU negotiators have agreed on a Brexit trade and security deal just eight days before Britain is set to leave the union.
The deal marks the largest ever signed by either the UK or the EU, and averts a no-deal outcome that would have resulted in tariffs and quotas being applied to imports and exports.
It covers trade worth £668bn in 2019, and ensures existing zero-tariff, zero-quota arrangements remain in place.
A statement from 10 Downing Street explained that ‘everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal’.
Per The Guardian, it continued:
The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU.
The deal is the first in history to erect barriers to commerce as it will see new border checks applied to UK and EU goods, rather than preserving the seamless trade the UK and EU have at the moment.
Official estimates suggest the deal will cost the UK 4% of GDP in the long term, while bureaucracy caused by Brexit will see traders fill in an estimated 200 million customs declarations a year.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said in a press conference that the two sides have ‘finally found an agreement after a long and winding road’.
She described the deal as ‘fair’, ‘balanced’ and ‘responsible for both sides’, adding, ‘Europe is now moving on.’
The deal guarantees that the UK is ‘not bound by EU rules’, and will put the UK in ‘full control of who enters the UK’.
Downing Street said the government ‘delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions, which protects the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it’.
We have got Brexit done and we can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us as an independent trading nation, striking trade deals with other partners around the world
As a result of the deal, the UK will have full political and economic independence on January 1, 2021.
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