EU members approve provisional application of trade deal with UK

Brussels, Dec 29 : Representatives of the European Union (EU) member states have agreed on the provisional application of the trade and cooperation agreement with the UK starting from January 1, 2021, a spokesperson for the bloc said.

“Green light for Brexit Deal: EU Ambassadors have unanimously approved the provisional application of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as of January 1, 2021,” Xinhua news agency quoted Sebastian Fischer, spokesperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee for the German Presidency of the EU Council, as saying in a tweet on Monday afternoon.

“Final adoption by use of written procedure. Deadline: Tomorrow (Tuesday), 15.00 hours (3 p.m.),” he added.

The Committee had earlier convened on Christmas Day to start preliminary review of the 1,246 pages of the draft text, which Fischer said could take several days.

The fast-track procedures were adopted in the EU as the post-Brexit agreement was only reached a week before the transitional period expires on December 31.

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The European Parliament is to formally scrutinise the legal document in early 2021, while it is provisionally applied from January 1 to February 28.

During a dialogue between the European Commission and the European Parliament on Monday, the latter proposed to extend the provisional period so that it can go through the text at the March plenary.

European Parliament President David Sassoli had said that it wanted to minimise disruption to citizens and businesses and prevent the chaos and negative consequences of a no-deal scenario.

On December 24, the EU and the UK announced the reaching of an agreement that will govern bilateral trade and security relationship starting from January 1, 2021.

The deal will need the approval of the European Parliament, the UK Parliament and the EU’s 27 member states.

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The UK Parliament is expected to vote in a special sitting to approve the deal on Wednesday.

Also on Monday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the post-Brexit trade deal is a new starting point for the two sides.

“I welcomed the importance of the UK/EU Agreement as a new starting point for our relationship, between sovereign equals,” Johnson tweeted on Monday after a call with European Council President Charles Michel.

He said both sides looked forward to the formal ratification of the agreement and to working together on shared priorities, such as tackling climate change.

The free trade deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth around 668 billion pounds ($905billion).

The UK is the EU’s third largest trading partner in goods, after the US and China.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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