ZEW President Achim Wambach on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement


The Negotiations Have Taken Their Toll

Professor Dr. Achim Wambach on better planning after the conclusion of the trade agreement between the EU and the UK.

The European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed on a last-minute trade deal after tense negotiations. The president of ZEW Mannheim, Professor Achim Wambach, comments on this matter: “It is a relief that the wrangling over the withdrawal agreement and trade deal has finally been concluded, and that the incertitude has now come to an end. The agreement provides greater predictability and certainty for future trade relations between the EU and the UK.

However, the negotiations have taken their toll. Companies have postponed their investments in order to first get clarity on the outcome of the negotiations. They now have this clarity. The EU is by far the most important trading partner for the United Kingdom. Germany also has a lot at stake – the UK is Germany’s fifth most important export country. The stage is now set for economic cooperation to move forward.

There is a certain irony that the dispute over fair competition conditions – the so-called level playing field – has made the negotiations so difficult. On the one hand, the UK, as a former member of the EU, currently meets all environmental and social standards; after all, the norms and standards were developed and shared together. On the other hand, the United Kingdom has often been the main advocate for greater competition in the EU. This voice will be missing.”