Britain and the European Union reached a trade agreement after more than four years of debate over the United Kingdom’s post-Brexit future, The New York Times reports.
The deal, which still has to be ratified by the British and European Parliaments, was reached just ahead of Christmas following 11 months of negotiations.
The deal is thousands of pages long, but there are still key disagreements that need to be worked out at a future date.
The deal also will “not prevent some disruption to trade across the English Channel, since British exports will still be subjected to some border checks, adding costs for companies and causing potential delays at ports,” The Times reported.
But the deal is expected to serve as a “blueprint” for how the UK and the EU will co-exist after severing ties after nearly five decades.
Deal would take effect in January:
The deal would take effect in January if approved. Britain had agreed to abide by most European Union rules through the end of the year while negotiators debated new regulations for the $900 billion of trade that crosses the English Channel.
“We’ve taken back control of our laws and our destiny,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared Thursday.
“For the first time since 1973," he said, “we will be an independent coastal nation with full control of our own waters.”
“It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission. “This moment marks the end of a long voyage.”
The UK had to make significant concessions in the deal, including rules that cover state aid to businesses and European rights to fish in their water.
Britain will largely abide by European Union regulations in the near future but any disputes will be settled through arbitration rather than set penalties that the EU had demanded.
The European Court of Justice will also have no jurisdiction over the disputes.