The European Union has given the green light to its post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, clearing the way for it to come into effect in the New Year.
The British parliament will have to ratify the deal later this week, but Brussels will apply it provisionally, cushioning the economic shock of the divorce.
Customs and regulatory controls on cross-Channel commerce will still come into effect on 1 January after Britain leaves the EU single market. But there will be no immediate return to a regime of tariffs and quotas that could have disrupted trade after Britain’s decision to quit the club.
The European Parliament will want to study the deal even after its provisional application and was expected to convene a session in the first half of next year to ratify it.