The transitional period will last from 29 March 2019 until 31 December 2020. The terms agreed included the UK being able to negotiate, sign and ratify its own trade deals during the transition period as well as still being part of existing EU trade deals with other countries.
EU citizens arriving in the UK during the transition period will have the same rights as those currently here.
Although this has answered some of the questions asked by the UK meat industry, Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said that more information was needed on how the ports system will work once Brexit happens.
“Whilst this is a step in the right direction the food industry and especially the meat industry needs to know how things are going to happen, the what is going to happen has always been understood. We need to know how the systems will work at the ports so that we can have a frictionless border, we need to know that these systems will be in place at the end of the 21 months. Those are the pieces of information that will give businesses confidence in the future.”
Norman Bagley, policy director at the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, said that “trade will continue as before but this was an important step in the process”.
Katie Doherty, policy director at the International Meat Trade Association, said it provided some certainty ahead of Brexit.
"The agreement between the EU and UK on a transitional period up until December 2020 is welcome news particularly in relation to continued frictionless trade across UK-EU borders for the transition. It is also interesting that agreement was reached on the UK not only continuing to benefit from EU agreed free trade agreements but that the UK will also be permitted to start negotiating with third countries on its own future trade agreements during this time.
“If nothing changes in the agreement when it is put before the European Council later in the week then it is certainly a good achievement for both negotiating teams. Not only does it bring some much needed certainty (at least in principle) but also promise for the UK in terms of its independent trade policy.”