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For weary Brexit negotiators on both sides of the English Channel, a Christmas Eve trade agreement sealed 11 months of painstaking deliberations over Britain’s departure from the European Union, encompassing details as arcane as what species of fish could be caught by each side’s boats in British waters.

But for many others — among them bankers, traders, truckers, architects and millions of migrants — Christmas was only the beginning, Day 1 of a high-stakes and unpredictable experiment in how to unstitch a tight web of commercial relations across Europe.

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