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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 & Trade Policy for Deloitte UK. She leads a team undertaking analysis and preparing insights across the spectrum of tax and trade matters including Budgets, technical consultations, trade negotiations and post-Brexit border rules. Amanda has held a wide number of roles during her career including leading client relationships, global representative to the OECD, mentoring and non-executive board roles. As well as previously being a partner at another Big 4 firm, she was in industry at Vodafone plc as global head of indirect taxes and responsible for managing tax value chain and centralisation initiatives. Amanda has an active home life with four children and is also passionate about horses, riding whenever free time permits and supporting the charity World Horse Welfare including volunteering as Trustee and Treasurer for 7 years.
James is a Director and Head of International Trade at Deloitte. Based in the Tax & Trade Policy Group, James works with clients from all sectors to help them understand what the UK’s evolving economic, foreign and trade policy agenda means for their decision-making, how they can maximise opportunities and mitigate risks. James was previously an Adviser to Deloitte. He has wide-ranging experience in Westminster politics, having served as a government Special Adviser, as a Political Adviser to the Conservative Party and holding roles working for the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the UK Parliament and as a Director at a political consultancy. James is an Expert Adviser to the government’s Trade Advisory Group on Professional Services. He has a master’s degree in public policy and is a Policy Fellow at the University of Cambridge.