On Thursday, Britain and the EU were on the verge of arriving at a final trade deal. The negotiations are on the backdrop of a tier 4 lockdown and long trucks on the EU border.
A lot of anxiety hovers over what the final agreement will look like after a four-year journey of Brexit talks, endless back and forth exchanges, extended deadlines, and business uncertainty. Where the UK lands after the agreement are what everyone waits to see as any prospect of a no-deal exit will be a relief to many.
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What do we know thus far?
- Negotiators have settled on a post-Brexit outline agreement
- Final touches are still being added
- Accord needs final approval by the British PM and EU
If the deal is passed it will go through a ratification process that prompts a recall of parliament. The new developments might be the only positive news as a new Covid-19 variant ravaging through Britain, prompting a new wave of tight lockdown restrictions.
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The areas that created controversy centered around how much fish rights EU countries will enjoy over the UK waters. Total trade between the EU block and the UK is $560 billion, while fisheries retain a tiny $790 million fraction that’s significant enough to stall all negotiations. Many argue that the hold up on this tiny sector actually comes from sovereignty concerns. Secondly, how far British law can deviate from EU regulatory law, and details around the special status of Northern Ireland. According to reports from parties informed on the ongoing negotiations, all the contentious issues have been resolved.
It remains to be seen whether the final deal meets the expectations of the vote leave campaign. The British PM Boris Johnson has been on back to back negotiations with EU commission president Ursula Von de Leyen.