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The £660billion deal coming into force at 11pm on Thursday is the first the EU has reached based on zero tariffs and zero quotas. Mr Sunak said the UK would maintain tariff-free access while being able to “capitalise on new opportunities”. He said that the country’s financial services industry would remain open for new relationships and trading.
Speaking yesterday the Chancellor hailed the historic agreement as an “enormously unifying moment for our country” and said he hoped it would bring people together “after the divisions of the past few years”.
He told Sky News: “I think this deal represents one of the most comprehensive free trade agreements ever signed and it’s a good deal for British families, businesses and jobs.
“It gives us a fantastic platform to go forward.”
Mr Sunak added: “There were always going to be people who want to reopen the debates of four years ago, but I don’t think that would be the right thing to do.
“I actually think this deal can represent an enormously unifying moment for our country and bring people together after the divisions of the last four years.
“To those who voted to leave, this deal means that we will have the freedom that people sought – control of our laws, our borders, our trade.
“But to those who were anxious about the economic implications of leaving they should be enormously reassured by the comprehensive nature of this free trade agreement.”
The deal ensured “tariff-free, quota-free access for British businesses to the European market, ensuring that close economic partnership and crucially protecting British jobs”, he added.
Mr Sunak also sought to reassure the City of London it will not be damaged.
The 40-year-old Chancellor said that it would mean “doing a few things a bit differently” and looking at “how we make the City of London the most attractive place to list new companies anywhere in the world”.
“There is a stable, co-operative framework mentioned in the deal which I think will give people that reassurance that we will remain in close dialogue with our European partners when it comes to things like equivalence decisions, for example.”
In a newspaper article he said: “In 2021 we won’t be Remainers or Leavers, only believers in Britain.”
With only days to go until Britain is totally free from the EU, the Prime Minister has urged people to “seize the opportunities”.
In an interview he promised “big” changes are coming as he seeks to use the country’s new freedoms to “deliver for people who felt left behind” – a clear pledge to keep to his levelling-up agenda.
Mr Johnson also hinted at a potential overhaul of tax and regulations for businesses, suggesting changes could come as early as the Budget in March.
And he signalled he would be prepared to rip up the agreement should Brussels “regularly” attempt to take retaliatory action.
Asked whether he believed the UK could defy predictions that Brexit will slow economic growth, Mr Johnson, 56, said “Freedom is what you make of it”.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said: “We have secured a fantastic free trade agreement that works for all four corners of the United Kingdom and delivers on our manifesto pledge to get Brexit done and take back control of our laws, borders and money.”
But Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the agreement did not protect financial services, which employ a million people in the UK.
“This is a thin deal,” she told the BBC. “It’s not the deal that the Government promised.” But she said her party would support it in this week’s vote.
EU ambassadors are expected to initiate implementation today.
The Government is urging businesses and citizens to make their final preparations.
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