Industry News

UK Government Reaches Deal with European Union over Future Trading Relationship

By Amy Owens

5 Jan 2021

Following an 11-month transition period, the UK-EU trade deal was agreed on Christmas Eve, containing commitments on Data and Intellectual Property (IP).

On data, the deal ensures that the UK and the EU will cooperate on digital trade issues in future, including emerging technologies. This provision will help to facilitate the cross-border flow of data by banning requirements to store or process data in a certain location.

Commitments on IP will provide high standards of protection for, and enforcement of, IP rights. These include registered IP rights such as patents, trademarks and designs, and unregistered rights such as copyright, trade secrets and unregistered designs.

The deal also stipulates that the UK & EU will co-operate to develop a representation agreement that will ensure that Collective Management Organisations on both sides will pay amounts owed.

The agreement also ensures that most goods traded between the EU and UK won’t face new tariffs or quotas. Despite this, the UK has left the EU customs union and single market, which will result in more paperwork when exporting goods and new customs checks.

Other highlights include:

• Freedom to live and work between the UK and the EU has come to an end and UK nationals will now need a visa if they want to stay in the EU more than 90 days in a 180-day period.

• Northern Ireland will continue to adhere to many of the EU's rules in order to avoid a hardening of its border with the Republic of Ireland. However, this will lead to the introduction of new checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

• Decisions are still to be made on data sharing and on financial services, and the agreement on fisheries will be renegotiated in five years.

• Both sides committed to upholding their environmental, social, labour and tax transparency standards to maintain a level playing field.

• While the UK and EU have agreed to some of the same rules now, they are expected to diverge in the future, and if one side takes exception to the changes, they can trigger a dispute, which could ultimately lead to tariffs (charges on imports) being imposed on some goods.

All information on Brexit and the new regime can be found here.