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On agosto 17, 2023, Posted by , With No Comments

The UK and EU Customs Agreement: What You Need to Know

Since the UK officially left the European Union (EU) on January 31, 2020, one of the most debated and talked-about issues has been the customs agreement between the two regions. As of today, there is still no final agreement in place, but negotiations are ongoing. In this article, we will explore the customs agreement and its significance for both the UK and the EU.

What is a Customs Agreement?

A customs agreement is essentially a trade deal between countries that outlines how goods will be transported and traded across borders. It typically includes provisions on tariffs, quotas, and rules of origin, among other things. The main objective of a customs agreement is to facilitate trade and minimize barriers to cross-border commerce.

Why is a Customs Agreement Important?

A customs agreement is critical for any country that depends on exports for its economic growth. In the case of the UK, around 48% of its exports go to the EU, making it a crucial trading partner. Without a customs agreement in place, trade between the UK and the EU could be subject to various tariffs and regulations, making it much more difficult and expensive to do business. This could adversely impact both the UK and EU economies, particularly in industries such as agriculture and manufacturing.

What is the Current Status of the UK-EU Customs Agreement?

Negotiations between the UK and EU have been ongoing since March 2020, with both sides seeking to reach a mutually beneficial customs agreement. The main sticking point has been the issue of Northern Ireland, which remains part of the UK but shares a border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state. The EU has insisted that there must be no hard border between the two countries, while the UK has sought to maintain its territorial integrity. There have also been disagreements around issues such as fisheries and state aid.

Despite these challenges, there is some optimism that a customs agreement can be reached. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that a deal is “there to be done,” while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that the EU “remains committed” to reaching an agreement. However, time is running out, with the deadline for a deal set for December 31, 2020.

What Happens if There is No Customs Agreement?

If a customs agreement is not reached by the end of the year, the UK and EU will trade under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. This would mean that tariffs would be applied to certain goods, making them more expensive for both UK and EU consumers. It would also mean that UK companies would have to comply with different regulations and standards when exporting to the EU, adding further complexity and costs to the process.


The UK and EU Customs Agreement is a critical issue for both regions, with significant implications for trade and commerce. While negotiations are ongoing, there is still no final agreement in place, and the deadline is looming. Whether a deal can be reached remains to be seen, but it is clear that both the UK and EU have a strong interest in reaching a mutually beneficial agreement that supports economic growth and prosperity.

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