Coventry business leaders have welcomed the news of agreement on a trade deal between the UK and the EU.
The treaty will apply from January 1, 2021, when arrangements under the transition period end.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “After one of the most difficult years on record for business, the fact a deal has been agreed and is now within touching distance is very welcome news indeed.
“Business wants tariff-free, quota-free access to EU markets and that appears to have been achieved by negotiators, and it is what our members have been calling for since the vote was taken to leave the union.”
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “although of course the arguments with our European friends and partners were sometimes fierce, this is, I believe, a good deal for the whole of Europe”.
He insisted that the “country will remain culturally, emotionally, historically, strategically, geologically attached to Europe”.
Louise added: “But, of course, tariff-free does not mean hassle-free, and exporters have been preparing for a new level of bureaucracy which means there will be a few bumpy months as systems settle down. We have seen over recent days of what can happen if freight does not move smoothly through borders.
“Clearly, we need to see the detail, and we need politicians, who now have a vital role to play in ratifying a deal, to think about the national good and not party politics.
“It really has gone down to the wire, as many predicted, and that does create issues and pressures and should have been avoided, but overall this is a very good end to an extremely testing year for business and means we go in the New Year with a sense of optimism.”
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it had been a “long and winding road”, but that striking a deal was “right and responsible”.
MPs and peers, who are currently not sitting in Parliament, are expected to be recalled on December 30 to ratify the deal, following which The Queen will give royal assent, formally enacting the treaty.