Jeremy Miles MS, Counsel General and Minister for European Transition
Today, I will be publishing the Welsh Government’s analysis of the implications of the UK’s new relationship with the EU as set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), related agreements and joint declarations.
The TCA between the UK and the EU was agreed on 24 December 2020, just days before the transition period ended on 31 December bringing in a new relationship between the UK and the EU.
The TCA is nothing like the agreement the Welsh Government would have wished to see. However, when given the binary choice between this agreement and leaving the transition without the framework of an agreement on the future relationship, we preferred the course of action that would provide the closer relationship with the EU and therefore the least disruption - as we have done throughout the last four and a half years.
The end of the transition period saw significant changes in practical terms to our relationship with our nearest neighbours: the end of barrier-free access to the Single Market, ending participation in the Customs Union and the application to the UK of the EU’s rules and international agreements. The TCA provides a framework for a fundamentally changed relationship from 1 January 2021 and while the TCA brings much-needed clarity to our new trading relationship, a number of new complexities now exist and uncertainty remains in a number of key areas.
However, notwithstanding our serious concerns with the agreement, we have always prioritised our work of making sure Wales is able to respond to these new realities.
The document tries to set out in an objective way what has changed since we left the transition period at the end of December 2020 and to signpost businesses and citizens to further information, including that available on our Preparing Wales webpages.
The Welsh Government will continue to work with partners to provide information, help, guidance and support to our citizens, businesses, organisations and communities in dealing with this new reality. We will also continue to advocate for an outward looking approach to the UK’s relationships with the wider world, putting the well-being of our people at its very heart.