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Monday, March 1, 2021

Parting 'sweet sorrow': EU, UK clinch trade deal

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Parting 'sweet sorrow': EU, UK clinch trade deal
Parting 'sweet sorrow': EU, UK clinch trade deal

Britain clinched a narrow Brexit trade deal with the European Union on Thursday, just seven days before it exits one of the world's biggest trading blocs in its most significant global shift since the loss of empire.

Gavino Garay reports.

BORIS JOHNSON: "We have taken back control of our destiny." Some are calling it 'Merry Brexmas' as the UK and EU finally struck a Brexit trade agreement on Thursday.

Talks on a deal went down to the wire, with the UK due to leave the single market and customs union at the end of the month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the face of the pro-Brexit campaign, urged Britain to move on from the divisions caused by the 2016 referendum.

BORIS JOHNSON: "This afternoon that we have completed the biggest trade deal yet … a deal that will protect jobs across this country, a deal that would allow goods, UK goods and components to be sold without tariffs and without quotas in the EU market." European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen described the milestone as bittersweet.

URSULA VON DER LEYEN: "Ladies and gentlemen, at the end of a successful negotiation journey I normally feel joy.

But today I only feel quiet satisfaction and frankly speaking, relief.

I know this is a difficult day for some, and to our friends in the United Kingdom, I want to say 'parting is such sweet sorrow'." Without the collective might of the EU, the UK will stand largely alone - and much more reliant on the U.S. - when negotiating with China, Russia and India.

It will have more autonomy but be poorer, at least in the short term.

Many aspects of Britain's future relationship with the EU remain to be hammered out, possibly over years.

The deal will avert the prospect of both sides imposing widespread import taxes come January 1st.

The deal also covers issues such as security, transport, and energy.

But even with a deal businesses will face new red tape and new costs.

Most economists, however, say the alternative of a no-deal exit looked much worse.

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