The 27 EU countries gave the green light on Monday for the post-Brexit trade agreement to enter into force on January 1, a spokesman said.
Ambassadors from EU capitals met in Brussels to nod through the agreement using a procedure that will take effect at 15:00 (1400 GMT) on Tuesday.
This will tentatively enable duty – free trade with the UK to continue after leaving the EU single market by New Year’s.
Sebastian Fischer, spokesman for the German EU presidency, said: “EU ambassadors have unanimously approved the provisional application of the EU-UK trade agreement.”
The adoption of the plan by the Member States makes it possible to enter into force in time to eliminate cross-border trade disruptions.
But the agreement still needs to be ratified retroactively by the European Parliament, probably at the end of February.