A free trade and security deal between the UK and the European Union has been agreed.
More than four years after the UK voted to leave the EU, the trade deal, which will still require EU and UK parliamentary ratification, has been confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The final negotiating stumbling blocks over competition rules and fishing rights have been overcome.
In a statement the UK Government said: “Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal.”
“We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters
“The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK.
“We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU.
The deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth £668bn in 2019.”
The Prime Minister said he hoped there would be a parliamentary vote on the deal on December 30.
It lifts the hugely damaging impact of a no deal with the UK and EU having to impose quotas and tariffs on a wide range of goods based on WTO rules, which economic forecasters warned would have shaved 2% off UK GDP and seen a spike in inflation.
However, the slim deal doesn’t extend to finance services, and will mean goods being trade between the EU and the UK will have to undergo custom checks with related documentation paperworks. The Office for Budget Responsibility said that port checks could shave 1% of UK output.
A deal covering the UK-EU trading relationship worth almost £670 billion will come as a relief to business leaders.