The negotiations on the future trade relations

The law and politics of Brexit. Volume II, The withdrawal agreement, 2020
Mariani, Maria Paola; Sacerdoti, Giorgio

This chapter examines the negotiations on the future relations between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU). The UK left the EU on the basis of a Withdrawal Agreement, which includes an obligation to negotiate in good faith the future relationship between the parties. The framework for future cooperation is outlined in a non-binding Political Declaration attached to the Withdrawal Agreement. This foresees the conclusion after the end of the transition period of a free trade agreement (FTA). However, as the chapter explains, the parties respective negotiating directives and guidelines, made public in February 2020, show a remarkable gap in objectives and features of the future agreement, to the point that a failure of the negotiations and a no-deal Brexit is still a possibility. The chapter is structured as follows. Section 2 examines the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement impacting the future EU–UK relations, namely Article 184 and the Protocol on Northern Ireland that already foresees rules applying between the parties post-transition, with respect to Northern Ireland. Section 3 focuses instead on the Political Declaration and the fu- ture negotiations, and exposes the different positions of the parties. Section 4, then, examines the challenges the UK faces in negotiating trade agree- ments with the EU while also doing so with the rest of the world. Section 5 concludes.