UK parliament approves Brexit trade deal
2020-12-31    [Source:PUdaily]

Members of parliament in the UK voted Wednesday to approve legislation that will pass the post-Brexit trade deal into law, after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel signed the agreement earlier in Brussels, Belgium.

The House of Commons approved the EU (Future Relationship) Bill by a vote of 521–73 at its first stage after Parliament was recalled. The bill will now pass to the House of Lords for approval. When this is done, the Queen will be asked to sign the legislation, known as Royal Assent.

The Brexit agreement was finally reached on 24 December after months of negotiation between the UK and the EU, and is based on international law. As part of the bill, it was agreed that there will be no tariffs or quotas on the movement of goods between the UK and the EU.

Without a deal in place, the UK would have faced a 4.7% tariff on gasoline exports to the EU. The UK exports any surplus of gasoline it produces to US and west African consumers, and imports diesel, gasoil, and jet fuel from Russia, the Middle East, and the west coast of India.

The post-Brexit deal also includes provisions to support trade in services, including financial and legal services, as well as arrangements for airlines and haulers to facilitate travel to and from the EU easily, notwithstanding population movement restrictions to curb rising COVID-19 infections.

EU member states gave their written approval to the agreement on Tuesday. The UK will leave the EU single market and customs union at 11 pm local time on 31 December.

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