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EU-UK: The EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement

EU-UK: The EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement

The Trade Cooperation Treaty between the EU and the UK sets out arrangements of trade of goods and services, intellectual property, aviation, transport, digital commerce, energy, law enforcement, criminal matters, judicial cooperation, thematic cooperation, public procurement Union participation programs. The Agreement aims to preserve the relationship between the EU and UK post-Brexit. 

The Agreement aims to establish ambitious cooperation on economic, social, environmental and fisheries issues through a Free Trade Agreement; maintain a close partnership concerning its citizens' security and set up a broad-gauge framework for governance. The Agreement includes:

A Free Trade Agreement

In keeping to strengthen their economic and social partnership, the Agreement covers a wide range of interests such as investment, tax transparency, sustainability, competition, social security, etc. The particulars of the said Free Trade Agreement are as follows;

  1. Goods complying with the rules of origin are eligible for zero tariffs and zero quotas.
  2. The Agreement ensures maintenance of high levels of protection in environmental protection areas, climate change, dispute settlement, labour rights, and carbon pricing, including the possibility of taking remedial measures.
  3. The interests of both the EU and the UK regarding fishing activities are safeguarded and preserve natural resources.
  4. The Agreement provides sustainability in air, maritime, road and rail transportation, ensuring connectivity and competition between EU and UK operators. It further also takes into consideration workers' rights, transport safety and passenger rights.
  5. Further, safety standards for renewable energy production and provisions regarding fair and open competition in the energy sector are guaranteed.
  6. The rights of citizens are of prime importance; therefore, in furtherance of this objective, the Agreement ensures social security coordination between the EU and the UK.
  7. Subject to the UK's financial contribution to the EU budget, the Agreement enables the UK to continue its participation in several flagship programs established by the EU.

Framework for Citizens' Security

The Agreement establishes a new framework for law enforcement and judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters. It aims to tap into new operational capabilities and recognizes the need for collaboration between judicial and law enforcement authorities to fight terrorism and illegal cross-border activities. However, it is imperative to note that since the UK is no longer an EU member, it shall not be eligible for the same security facilities as before. As such, cooperation is subject to suspension in case of violations.


For clarity regarding businesses, consumers and citizens, the Agreement sets out a Chapter on governance that includes dispute settlement mechanisms, compensatory and safeguard measures, remedial and enforcement actions to ensure that the rights of businesses, consumers and all individuals are protected. It also bars either party from enforcing regulatory autonomy that may lead to unfair subsidies and distortion of competition.


The Agreement does not cover topics on foreign policy, external security, and defence cooperation, as of 1st January 2021. Additionally, as unilaterally decided by the EU, interests such as financial services, the UK's data protection regime, UK's sanitary and phytosanitary regime shall not be covered under the Agreement.

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