The negotiations on the future trade relationsThe law and politics of Brexit. Volume II, The withdrawal agreement, 2020
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.