Overview

Our team of experienced lawyers have examined the impact of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and summarised the impact on all aspects of business operations in one place.

Our approach to analysing the TCA

Given the length of the TCA and its broad coverage, we have not sought to summarise its full content. Rather, our approach has been to focus on those commercial issues that will have the greatest impact for our clients in the UK and the EU. As such, we have not covered areas such as law enforcement or security cooperation which, while important, are of less commercial relevance to clients. The areas we have analysed are accessible below alongside an overview of the agreement:

TCA overview

The TCA is very good news per se, simply because it is a manifestation of goodwill between the UK and the EU. This is singularly important. The appetite is now there to create closer practical ties based on the rudiments of the TCA. Contrast this to the poisoning of the well a no-deal would have created.

One immediate consequence of this goodwill is that the EU will allow personal data to be transferred to the UK for up to a further six months on current terms, pending an expected 'adequacy' decision. This avoids the existential scenario of all movement of personal data from the EU to the UK being unlawful, unless protected by additional safeguards. It would be an understatement to say that this comes as a huge relief to many businesses.

Goods: The deal on goods is very positive. There are no tariffs or quotas on any good crossing the UK/EU border. This is exceptional for a trade deal: no protectionism at all. The rules of origin are helpful to products which are part-manufactured in the UK and EU, e.g. cars – they won't be subject to tariffs when the finished product is exported from the UK to the EU and vice versa.

Where the goods deal is less helpful is that full regulatory approvals are still required for goods being imported into the EU or UK. These regulatory approvals are known as Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). In certain sectors - automotive, chemicals, pharma, organic products and wine – the UK and EU have already agreed rules to lessen TBTs. There will no doubt be further efforts to reduce TBTs in other sectors.

Services: The deal on services is far thinner than on goods. This is not surprising, though, for two reasons. First, liberalisation of services has bedevilled WTO negotiations for decades. Third-country access to domestic services sectors is far more complex to implement, in terms of regulation by an international treaty, than third-country access for goods. Secondly, the UK was never going to re-create anything like the access that EU regulated services - such as financial, audio-visual, legal services and aviation, and unregulated services - such as digital - enjoyed in the EU's Single Market. Significant new barriers to market access for UK services in the EU were an inevitable corollary of Brexit.

Analysis

Our team of experienced lawyers have examined the impact of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and summarise the impact on all aspects of business operations in one place. Explore them below: