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UK, European Union strike post-Brexit trade deal, easing economic fears as deadline neared

The historical trade deal marks the end of European Union ties to the UK

Flags of the European Union
Flags of the European Union
(Ian Waldie / Getty Images)
Updated: December 24, 2020 - 1:59pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The United Kingdom announced Thursday that it has has reached an agreement with the European Union that will allow the side to continued trade deals, with Downing Street saying the "deal is done."

Over the past several months, the two governments have attempted to negotiate how trade would continue after the United Kingdom left the EU in January. As negotiations stalled, fears of a "no-deal" economic disarray loomed. But as of Christmas Eve, a deal has been established and the two governments will continue operations as normal. 

Britain's departure from the 27-state European Union is known as "Brexit. The deal was reached about a week before deadline.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said after the announcement that the deal signifies a new stability and would allow his country to maintain its autonomy.

"We've taken back control of our laws and our destiny. ... From January 1, we are outside the customs union and outside the single market; British laws will be made solely by the British parliament, interpreted by the UK judges sitting in UK courts; and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will come to an end."

Some of the main points in the agreement include zero tariffs on goods, border checks between the UK and EU and the end of free movement, meaning UK citizens will not have the right to work, live or study in the EU without obtaining a proper visa.

Another key agreement includes the UK's continued participation in some EU programs until 2027, subject to a financial contribution by the UK. 

Although Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have agreed on the proposal, it will now go to EU leaders and the UK government for approval. 

The UK voted to leave the EU four-and-a-half years ago, and the trade agreement will help to finalize the decision. 

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