City of London Corporation responds to UK-EU trade deal

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Boris Johnson says he has negotiated a “comprehensive Canada-style” free trade deal between the UK and the EU that will protect jobs across this country.

The Prime Minister said: “We have taken back control of laws and our destiny. We have taken back control of every jot and tittle of our regulation. In a way that is complete and unfettered.”

From 1 January the UK will be outside both the Customs Union and the Single Market. Mr Johnson estimated the trade deal to be worth £660 billion.

Full details of the agreement are expected in the coming week.

Reacting to the news, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, Catherine McGuinness, said: “We are very pleased that both UK and EU negotiators have finally been able to come to a free trade agreement. This is positive news that – subject to ratification – opens a new chapter and provides long-awaited certainty for businesses and households on both sides of the Channel at a vital moment. 

“We hope it can lay the foundations for a collaborative future partnership as independent partners. We also urge both sides to continue to work on other outstanding issues, including agreeing a framework for regulatory and supervisory cooperation and granting data adequacy. 

“A constructive relationship between the UK and EU will be vital to address joint challenges and opportunities such as the digitisation of the economy and climate change.”

London Chamber of Commerce & Industry welcomed the announcment of a deal, and urged both sides to work together to cushion any impacts from the change in relationship, and remain open minded to any need for future discussions​. 

Chief Executive Richard Burge said: “Businesses are undoubtedly relieved to hear that a deal has been agreed and will be hoping that it will now be ratified by respective parliaments across Europe. 

“Whilst some changes from January 1 have been known, others have not and businesses will need to work their way through the detail of the deal and ascertain where the real-term impacts of Brexit may lay for them, their supply chains and customers.

“It’s important that the civil service also quickly responds and explains that detail. However, in on the ground terms for business there are likely to still be questions unanswered and operational detail missing.

“The negotiations running this late in the day have not helped, so I hope both the Government and the EU will be open-minded regarding working together to cushion the impact of the change in relationship, wherever possible.

“Businesses are aware this may not be the all-encompassing deal that was promised at the beginning of this venture. It’s important that both sides continue to be open minded to a need for future discussions, to ensure the best possible trade and access to goods and services in the years to come. Ensuring London remains a leading world city will require the best possible terms of trade.”

Meanwhile, Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of London First, said there would be “huge sighs of relief” all round.

She added: “With a deal in place, firms can focus on making it through the pandemic and safeguarding jobs, in the knowledge that they won’t suddenly be cut off from our biggest trading partner.

“However, there is now precious little time for businesses to adapt to the changes they will need to make and at a time when many are reeling from tier four restrictions. The UK Government must provide as much support as possible to firms in the months ahead.”

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