Spotlight: UK businesses feel relief for averting no-deal Brexit, expecting more details


  • World
  • Friday, 25 Dec 2020

LONDON, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- British businesses on Thursday felt relief for avoiding the no-deal outcome after Britain and the European Union (EU) reached their post-Brexit trade agreement in the last-minute negotiations, expecting more details to be rolled out soon.

Adam Marshall, director general at British Chambers of Commerce, said, "The UK-EU agreement is officially done. Relief for many weary, worried businesses that a 'no deal' outcome has been averted."

Marshall said that it is the time now to "scrutinise and understand the detail -- and ensure businesses have the practical information they need to trade successfully from Jan. 1 (2021)."

While welcoming a zero-tariff deal between both sides, he said that it does not remove many non-tariff barriers and frictions.

"Let us be absolutely clear," said Marshall, adding that the businesses are "facing significant, new non-tariff barriers to trade from Jan. 1 (2021)."

"While the agreement of a zero-tariff UK-EU deal is welcome, it does not remove many non-tariff barriers & frictions," he added.

Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said it is "a huge relief" for economies of the two sides.

"A deal means we can start our new chapter outside the EU on better foundations," said Danker, adding that the group will "review the full details".

"It is urgent that both sides agree to smooth the cliff edge next week. Business now needs grace periods to adjust and immediate guidance to proceed," said Danker.

Meanwhile, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the new agreement provided a platform for future relationship between Britain and the EU.

He said he is also looking forward to further details.

"We await the details to ensure this deal works for all automotive goods and technologies, including specifics on rules of origin and future regulatory co-operation," Hawes said.

"A phase-in period is critical to help businesses on both sides adapt and efforts should now be sustained to ensure seamless implementation, with tariff-free trade fully accessible and effective for all from day one," he added.

He said the auto body will work closely with the British government to ensure "all companies are as prepared as possible in the limited time left."

Earlier Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared "the deal is done" after striking a historic trade agreement with the EU.

The deal is a comprehensive Canada style deal, the prime minister said at a virtual press conference at Downing Street, adding that it will protect jobs across Britain.

The agreement "offers certainty" for businesses across the "whole country" and will benefit the whole of Britain, he said.

"There will be no palisade of tariffs on Jan. 1 (2021) or tariff barriers to trade," the prime minister said.

"The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will come to an end," he said.

The deal on goods worth 668 billion pounds (about 902.5 billion U.S. dollars) will mean zero tariffs and zero quotas, the British media reported, and it would mean Britain has "taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters".

Meanwhile, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference in Brussels: "We have finally found an agreement. It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it. It is fair. It is a balance deal."

"It is time to leave Brexit behind. Our future is made in Europe," she said.

"At the end of a successful negotiations journey, I normally feel joy. But today I only feel quiet satisfaction and -- frankly speaking -- relief," she said.

"I know this is a difficult day for some. To our friends in the UK, I want to say: parting is such sweet sorrow," she added.

Four and a half years after the 2016 Brexit referendum, agreement was reached just a week to go before the Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

The British parliament would still need to ratify the deal by the end of the year before it can be implemented on Jan. 1, 2021. The EU is likely to impose "provisional application" of the agreement until MEPs vote on it in 2021.

Britain left the EU on Jan. 31, 2020. The two sides have been locked in talks since March to determine their future relations.

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