The text of an Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been agreed by the UK and the EU negotiating teams. This will now need to be ratified in order to bring it into UK and EU law. It is a long complex document that will take some time to fully understand.
The FTA introduces zero tariffs on goods moving between the UK and the EU. However this only applies where the goods being transported originate in the UK or the EU. Goods that were imported from elsewhere (or are made up of components imported from elsewhere) may still be subject to customs duties depending on the nature of the goods and the arrangements in place with their country of origin.
And the FTA does not remove the new requirement to make customs declarations on UK-EU movements, or the changes to the VAT position.
The additional costs and time at the border is likely to encourage UK and EU businesses to rethink their supply chains - especially those involving perishable goods.
Below we set out our priority checklist for businesses as the transition period ends. However, businesses should be cautious that decisions made today have lasting impact tomorrow. Businesses will need to ensure their operational networks and supplier agreements remain resilient post 1 January 2021 when making these short-term changes.