The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is unique, as it focuses on limiting divergence rather than promoting convergence. The TCA provides for tariff-free and quota-free terms on all goods, providing that they comply with rules of origin requirements, reflecting most ambitious set of commitments ever to feature in an EU trade agreement in this regard.
The Agreement is ‘thinner’ than initially conceived and is dependent on a continual process of discussion and review. In addition to the Northern Ireland Protocol, the various Joint Declarations included in the Agreement – as well as the annual discussions on Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for fish – ensure that the terms of the TCA will be a persistent feature of the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
Here we examine some of the key elements of the Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol.