Nick Gibb expressed his delight that the government has concluded an historic free trade agreement with the European Union.
Nick Gibb said: “When the United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January this year, the government delivered on the mandate given by the British people in the 2016 referendum. In this area over 60% of people voted to leave the EU.
“The free trade agreement concluded with the EU on Christmas Eve, means that when the transition period ends at 11pm on New Year’s Eve, not only will we be out of the European Union, we will be an independent sovereign nation with an historic free trade agreement with the biggest trading block in the world. This agreement will protect jobs and keep prices low.
“The agreement, based on international law and with no role for the European Court of Justice, is the first free trade deal based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that the EU has ever agreed.
“This is great news for businesses in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, including large global businesses like Rolls Royce Motor Cars based in Bognor Regis and Chichester. And it’s good news for consumers too who can continue to buy goods from Europe tariff-free.
“The agreement recognises the UK’s sovereignty over our fishing waters and puts us in a position to rebuild our fishing fleet, overturning the injustice our fishermen have faced for over forty years.
“As we head into 2021, with all the challenges of tackling the deadly coronavirus, our economy will be buoyed by the confidence that this free trade agreement brings. And every month our International Trade Secretary is agreeing free trade arrangements across the world, from Japan to Canada, from Singapore to the South African Customs Union. So far, we have trading arrangements in place with nearly 60 countries across the globe, providing a platform for an optimistic can-do economy.
“2020 has been a really difficult year, a year that we will all look back on with sorrow, pain and, for too many of us, with grief. The economic impact of the pandemic has been severe and has affected the lives of so many families and businesses. Although it is a year few, if any, will regret coming to an end, none of us will forget the dedication of health service workers, teachers and other essential workers who gave the nation reason to be proud and kept us going through the year.
“As we look forward to 2021, there are grounds for confidence and optimism. Medical science has developed vaccines at record speed to protect us from Covid-19 which are now being delivered across the country. Discussions with the EU have ended with a clear and settled future for our relationship. We are free to make our own way in the world. I am full of hope for the year ahead and I wish everybody in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton a safe and healthy 2021.”
Photo: Nick Gibb examining the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.