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News of a UK-EU trade deal meant a sigh of relief for many businesses, marking the culmination of four years of negotiations - the last 12 months of which on this particular free trade agreement.
The vast majority of the deal content has been widely anticipated and planned for by business for some months. The publication of both sides’ negotiating mandates early in 2020 at least made it clear what the best case scenarios could be. The EU sought to protect the fundamental freedoms of its single market while the UK prioritised limiting the erosion of sovereignty through its international obligations. In both respects each side can claim to have achieved their objectives.
Our specialists across Deloitte are examining the full 1,246 pages of legal text according to each chapter. Unpacking the precise detail of the agreement will take some time, however the most notable inclusions are:
What does this mean for business?
The deal provides business with much needed certainty and a more stable start to 2021 than leaving without a deal. That said, there is a lot of detail to go through and significant change to the trading landscape of the future that should not be underestimated.
Most of the immediate practical changes are needed in any event and have been widely presented, including in lengthy guidance documents released through the UK government’s website and by HMRC. Although many called for an implementation period as part of this deal, nothing was agreed so the immediate changes include:
Amanda is Head of Tax Policy for Deloitte UK. She is an international tax partner and also leads Deloitte’s Brexit insights team based in the UK, co-ordinating expertise across the global network of firms. She advises businesses on the spectrum of Brexit related issues, assessing the scale of potential impact and helping clients to plan mitigating actions to minimise impact and maximise opportunity. Amanda has held a wide number of roles during her career, including leading client relationships, global representative to the OECD, mentoring, non-executive board role and trusteeships. As well as previously being a partner at another Big 4 firm, she was in industry at Vodafone plc for 6 ½ years, as global head of indirect taxes and responsible for managing tax value chain and centralisation initiatives.
James is an adviser to Deloitte based in the Global Brexit Insights team. He advises the firm and its clients on a spectrum of issues relating to the UK’s international trade agenda and the wider political landscape. He helps businesses understand what the UK’s evolving economic, foreign and trade policy means for them, how they can capitalise on opportunities and mitigate risks. James was formerly a political adviser to the Conservative Party and worked for then Chancellor George Osborne. More recently he was a director at a Westminster-based political consultancy and a special adviser at the UK’s Department for International Trade.