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Difficult negotiations about a future trade deal between the UK and the EU have finally come to a positive conclusion. The much expected deal was delivered by the parties as somewhat of a Christmas present on Christmas Eve. It will take a while to get to know all the details of the deal as both sides will have made concessions in order to get a deal through before the holidays. However, major changes are still in the air and the way commercial transactions will be carried out across the Channel will nonetheless change significantly on 1 January 2021.
Michel Barnier has apparently said that the main obstacle to a deal in the final “few hours” of the post-Brexit trade negotiation is whether the EU will be able to hit UK goods with tariffs if the government closes its fishing waters to EU fishing fleets in the future.
With the EU parliament having said it needs agreement by midnight on Sunday for it to be able to give its consent in a vote this year, the EU’s chief negotiator said the nine months of talks had hit the “moment of truth”.
The two sides are at loggerheads over whether the EU will be able to hit back should the UK close its seas to European vessels after a transition period of unspecified length.
With just over three weeks left until the UK leaves EU’s single market and customs union at the end of the transition period, there are two issues that continue to dominate negotiations. EU leaders on Sunday described these as “major unresolved topics.” They are the future level of access to British waters given to the EU fishing fleet and, more significantly, the "evolution" or "ratchet clause" to ensure that regulatory standards do not diverge to such an extent that British or European businesses are left at a significant competitive disadvantage in the marketplace over time.
However, there is again growing optimism in regards to a deal being struck before the end of the year as apparently both sides have given ground in the past days.