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The UK Publishers Association (PA)has cautiously welcomed the post-Brexit trade deal struck between the UK and the European Union (EU) after protracted last-minute negotiations.

PA chief executive Stephen Lotinga said: “Publishers have been clear all along that a deal with the EU is our preferred option. We will of course need to see the detail, but we have always felt it was the best way to try to preserve the levels of access we previously enjoyed. Europe is one of UK publishing’s most important markets, accounting for a third of our book exports, so maintaining seamless trade is of the utmost importance to the industry, especially as the UK and the world looks to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The UK is the world’s largest exporter of books and we hope this deal should help to ensure that we continue to be so.”

Back in 2016, a majority of senior book trade figure said that Brexit could be a “threat to business”.  In words that would become prophetic, Pan Macmillan MD Anthony Forbes Watson said there would be “long, drawn-out and toxic negotiation for future trading with a post-Brexit EU.  He commented at the time: “Why would the EU make it anything but agonising for us to leave, given the anxiety over others following suit?”