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LONDON (Reuters) – The ambassadors of 27 European Union member states on Monday formally approved the Brexit trade deal they struck with the United Kingdom last week, the latest obstacle to a deal that will take effect on January 1.
The ambassadors worked over the Christmas holidays and agreed to a tentative request Monday morning. The European Parliament, the only directly elected chamber in the European Union, is not expected to vote on it until January and refuse to ratify it during the tight timeframe. Instead, the provisional application will allow it to go into effect on New Year’s Day Friday.
EU governments have until 2 p.m. London time on Tuesday to submit their written consent, but this is also a formality as EU leaders have already welcomed the agreement.
The British government will vote on the trade deal on Wednesday and the country will exit the transition period with the European Union at 11 pm local time on New Year’s Eve.
The 1,246-page document, details of which were published on the UK government’s website, and the fraught last-minute negotiations left little time for any proper vetting before the deadline.
The UK opposition Labor Party is expected to support the deal despite concerns, but there are likely to be some rebellious lawmakers in the Labor Party and the ruling Conservative Party.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicolas Sturgeon has expressed disagreement with the agreement, and the UK fishing industry has given a lukewarm response, accusing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of insuring “a fraction of what the UK is entitled to under international law” The government has repeatedly said it will secure on behalf of the fishing industry UK fish. “
On Christmas Eve, the two sides reached a “zero-tariff quota deal”, which would help facilitate the trade of goods across the English Channel. It brought relief to exporters on both sides who were facing higher tariffs and costs if no deal was reached.
The two sides have engaged in intense talks since March to determine how the trade will operate from January onwards.
– CNBC’s Sylvia Amaro contributed to this article.