The UK and the EU clinch a deal earlier Thursday, just seven days before the Brexit transition period is set to end on Dec. 31.
“It is four and a half years since the British people voted to take back control of their money, their borders, their laws, and their waters, and to leave the European Union,” he said at a virtual press conference held in Downing Street.
“I am very pleased to tell you this afternoon that we have completed the biggest trade deal yet, worth £660 billion a year, a comprehensive, Canada-style, free trade deal between the UK and the EU,” he said.
He said the deal will “protect jobs across this country” and allow British goods to be sold “without tariffs and without quotas” in the EU market, and claimed it would even allow UK exporters “to do even more business” with the EU.
Johnson said the deal “achieves something that the people of this country instinctively knew was doable, but which they were told was impossible.”
“We’ve taken back control of our laws and our destiny. We’ve taken back control of every jot and tittle of our regulation in a way that is complete and unfettered. From Jan. 1, we are outside the customs union and outside the single market. British laws will be made solely by the British parliament, interpreted by UK judges sitting in UK courts and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will come to an end.”
He made special mention of fishing rights, which was one of the most stubborn sticking points during the Brexit talks.
“For the first time since 1973, we will be an independent coastal state with full control of our waters, with the UK’s share of fish in our waters rising substantially from roughly half today to closer to 2/3 in five and a half years’ time, after which there is no theoretical limit beyond those placed by science or conservation on the quantity of our own fish that we can fish in our waters.”
In a message aimed at the EU, Johnson said the deal “means a new stability and a new certainty in what has sometimes been a fractious and difficult relationship.”
“We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter, and indeed—never let it be forgotten—your number one market,” he said. “Because although we have left the EU this country will remain culturally, emotionally, historically, strategically, and geologically attached to Europe, not least through the four million EU nationals who have requested to settle in the UK over the last four years and who make an enormous contribution to our country and to our lives.”