Free trade agreements of the United Kingdom
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Following its withdrawal from the European Union, the United Kingdom plans to negotiate trade agreements to replace and supplement those it participated in as a member of the European Union Customs Union. As of October 2020[update], the United Kingdom has concluded one new trade agreement (with Japan),[a] agreed to continue 20 existing (EU) agreements and has other negotiations in progress. The Government of the United Kingdom describes itself as a proponent of free trade.
|Parent department||Department for International Trade|
Competence & ratification processEdit
According to U.K. law the Parliament of United Kingdom Parliament has the power to pass law in all policy areas. 
- Competence within the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom Government has reserved powers over matters regarding international trade and agreements as well as the right and power to legislate over any matter due to parliamentary sovereignty, However United Kingdom Government will normally seek a consent motion from the Devolved Parliament (s) when areas within Agreement (s) collide with matters of devolved competence regardless of their ability to legislate,
The responsibility for concluding treaties involving the UK lies with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. This remains the case even when the negotiation of the treaty is led by another government department.
The FCO's Legal Advisers and Treaty Section:
- must be given the opportunity to comment on the drafts of all treaties under negotiation;
- will advise on the form and substance of the treaty, though not substance which is technical and of which the other government department is the expert;
- will advise on related matters such as the production of Full Powers and Instruments of Ratification;
- will produce original signature copies of treaties and advise on the treaty signing ceremony;
- will arrange for the treaty to be published and laid before Parliament;
- is responsible for the registration of these treaties with the UN, allowing their subsequent publication in the United Nations Treaty Series; and
- will transfer of the treaties to the National Archives for preservation.
Our specific guidance on practice and procedure provides further information, including the procedures for ratification under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (CRaG Act) 2010.
- UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories
Unless expressly authorized to do so by HMG in the UK, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories do not have the authority to become a party to treaties in their own right. The UK must extend the territorial scope of its ratification of treaties to include them. This is normally done either at the time of ratification, or at some later date.— Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Signed UK trade agreementsEdit
As of 1 August 2020[update], the UK had secured 20 trade agreements with 49 countries, some through the use of a mutatis mutandis concept, in order to quickly replicate the existing agreements between the EU and these countries, only having to call out those minor areas of differentiation (this allowed some agreements to be reduced to around 40 pages from the original around 1400). Among them are significant economies — by nominal GDP — such as South Korea, Switzerland, Israel and South Africa.
|No||Nation (s)||No of nations
|1||Andean Community||3||May 15, 2019||Misc 22 (2019)||||yes|
|2||CARIFORUM (Trade Bloc)||14||March 22, 2019||Misc 18 (2019)||||yes|
|3||Central America||6||July 18, 2019||Misc 32 (2019)||||yes|
|4||Chile||1||January 30, 2019||Misc 2 (2019)||||yes|
|5||Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) (Trade Bloc)||4||January 31, 2019||Misc 4 (2019)||||yes|
|6||Faroe Islands||1||January 31, 2019||Denmark 1 (2019)||||yes|
|7||Georgia||1||October 21, 2019||Georgia 1 (2019)||||yes|
|8||Israel||1||February 18, 2019||Israel 1 (2019)||||yes|
|9||Jordan||1||November 5, 2019||Jordan 1 (2019)|||
|10||Kosovo||1||December 3, 2019||Kosovo 1 (2019)|||
|11||Lebanon||1||September 19, 2019||Lebanon 1 (2019)||||yes|
|12||Liechtenstein||1||February 11, 2019||Liechtenstein 1 (2019)||||?|
|13||Morocco||1||October 26, 2019||Morocco 1 (2019)||||yes|
|14||Pacific States (Fiji and Papua New Guinea)||2||March 14, 2019||Misc 15 (2019)||||yes|
|15||Palestine Authority||1||February 18, 2019||Misc 14 (2019)||||yes|
|16||South Korea||1||August 22, 2019||Korea 1 (2019)||||yes|
|17||Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique
(SACUM) (Trade Bloc)
|6||October 9, 2019||Misc 34 (2019)||||yes|
|18||Switzerland||1||February 11, 2019||Switzerland 4 (2019)||||yes|
|19||Tunisia||1||October 4, 2019||Tunisia 1 (2019)||||yes|
|20||Ukraine||1||October 8, 2020|||
|21||Côte d'Ivoire||1||October 15, 2020|||
|22||Japan (UK–Japan FTA)||1||October 23, 2020||||Based on the Japan–EU agreement concluded a short time beforehand..|
|Total no of countries or territories the UK has trade deals with||51|
Mutual recognition agreementsEdit
Mutual recognition in relation to Conformity assessment, Certificates and Markings
|No||Nation (s)||Signed||Citation (s)|
|1||Australia||January 18, 2019|||
|2||New Zealand||January 21, 2019|||
|3||United States of America||February 14, 2019|||
Obsolete UK FTAsEdit
Norway and IcelandEdit
During the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK, there was some concern that agreement on terms for withdrawal would not be reached, and that the UK would leave the EU precipitously without any agreement (the original no-deal Brexit scenario). With this outcome a possibility, the UK secured a goods-only trade agreement with Norway and Iceland, that would only be valid in the outcome of a No Deal exit from the EU. As the UK did agree terms and go on to ratify the Brexit withdrawal agreement in November 2019 and leaving the EU at the end of January 2020, this agreement became obsolete and so will not come into effect.
UK FTAs in discussion for continuity of EU agreementsEdit
|No||Nation (s)||Agreement Status||Reported Progress Made|
|1||Albania (Western Balkans)||Discussions Ongoing|
|3||Bosnia and Herzegovina (Western Balkans)||Discussions Ongoing|
|4||Cameroon (Central Africa)||Discussions Ongoing|
|5||Canada||Discussions Ongoing||Expected to be signed before December 2020|
|6||East African Community (EAC)||Discussions Ongoing|
|7||Egypt||Discussions Ongoing||Expected to be signed before December 2020|
|11||Montenegro (Western Balkans)||Discussions Ongoing|
|12||North Macedonia (Western Balkans)||Discussions Ongoing||Reportedly all but complete and awaiting signature – expected to be signed before December 2020|
|13||Serbia (Western Balkans)||Discussions Ongoing|
|14||Ukraine||Discussions Ongoing||Expected to be signed before December 2020|
|15||Singapore||Discussions Ongoing||Expected to be signed before December 2020|
|16||Vietnam||signed a Joint Declaration to establish the UK-Viet Nam Strategic Partnership||Expected to be signed before December 2020|
In January 2020, the British High Commissioner to Africa, Emma Wade-Smith, suggested in an interview that Angola were likely to soon become the seventh signatory of the UK-SACUM EPA.
Trade Deals at pre-negotiation stageEdit
|No||Nation (s)||Number of nations
Free trade deals being negotiatedEdit
|No||Nation (s)||Citation (s)||Status||Dedicated page||Comment|
|1||European Union||27||||Negotiations Ongoing||Tenth round of negotiations is expected to take place 19─23 October 2020.|
|2||United States of America||1||||Negotiations Ongoing||UK–US FTA||Fourth round of negotiations was expected to take place in September 2020. Agreement is not expected in 2020.|
|3||Australia||1||||Negotiations Ongoing||UK–Australia FTA||Second round of negotiations is expected to take place in September 2020.|
|4||New Zealand||1||||Negotiations Ongoing||UK–New Zealand FTA||Second round of negotiations is expected to take place in October 2020.|
|6||CPTTP||11||||Negotiations Ongoing||UK CPTTP FTA Accession|
|8||European Free Trade Area (part) (Norway, Iceland & Liechtenstein)||3||||Negotiations Ongoing||Negotiations formally commenced between the UK and the EFTA nations that are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) (Norway, Iceland & Liechtenstein but not Switzerland) on 20 July 2020. The aim and intention from all parties is to conclude the core trade aspect of the negotiations swiftly so that it can be in place for the end of the EU transition period on 1 January 2021. However, the intention[whose?] is also to conclude multiple other agreements in parallel to this and stretching further into 2021.|
UK top 10 trading partnersEdit
|% of Total||Rank||Trade Partner||Billion
|2||Germany (EU member)||58.6||8.4%||2||Germany (EU member)||78.0||10.8%|
|3||France (EU member)||42.8||6.1%||3||Netherlands (EU member)||51.1||7.1%|
|4||Netherlands (EU member)||42.8||6.1%||4||China||49.0||6.8%|
|5||Ireland (EU member)||38.3||5.5%||5||France (EU member)||47.5||6.6%|
|6||China||31.4||4.5%||6||Spain (EU member)||34.1||4.7%|
|7||Switzerland (EFTA member)||25.0||3.6%||7||Belgium (EU member)||28.6||3.9%|
|8||Italy (EU member)||21.4||3.1%||8||Italy (EU member)||26.6||3.7%|
|9||Spain (EU member)||19.3||2.8%||9||Ireland (EU member)||24.5||3.4%|
|10||Belgium (EU member)||18.5||2.6%||10||Norway (EFTA member)||17.8||2.5%|
|Non EU||398.3||57.0%||Non EU||352.3||48.6%|
|Historically, WTO imports and exports are based on the rule of origin, while EU imports/exports are based on single market statistics|
The figures above cover up to 2019 only.
- The UK-Japan agreement is largely a duplicate of the FTA that Japan and the EU concluded a few weeks earlier.
- Replicates the partner's pre-Brexit agreement with the UK as a member of the EU
- including Puerto Rico
- Robin Harding and Jim Pickard (11 September 2020). "UK strikes 'historic' trade deal with Japan". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 October 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "Post-Brexit Britain to be 'champions of free trade', Dominic Raab says". ITV News. February 7, 2020.
- Fox, Liam (January 23, 2019). "Global Britain and the economy". Gov.UK.
- Fox, Liam (June 6, 2019). "First meeting of government trade advisory group". Gov.U.K.
- "Election 2019: A short guide to devolution in the UK". BBC News. November 13, 2019.
- "UK Treaties". Gov.UK. November 7, 2019.
- Hollingbery, George (May 15, 2019). "UK signs trade continuity agreement with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru". Gov.UK.UK–Andean FTA
- Hollingbery, George (22 March 2019). "UK signs trade continuity agreement with Caribbean countries". Gov.UK.UK–CARIFORUM FTA
- "UK and Central America sign continuity agreement". Gov.UK. July 18, 2019.UK–Central America FTA
- Fox, Liam (January 30, 2019). "UK and Chile sign continuity agreement". Gov.UK.UK–Chile FTA
- including THE UNION OF COMOROS, THE REPUBLIC OF MADAGASCAR, THE REPUBLIC OF MAURITIUS, THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES, THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE
- Hollingbery, George (January 31, 2019). "UK signs Eastern and Southern Africa trade continuity agreement". Gov.UK.UK–ESA FTA
- Eustace, George (February 1, 2019). "UK and Faroe Islands sign trade continuity agreement". Gov.UK.UK–Faroe Islands (Denmark) FTA
- Truss, Elizabeth (October 21, 2019). "UK and Georgia sign trade continuity and strategic cooperation agreement". Gov.UK.UK–Georgia FTA
- Fox, Liam (February 18, 2019). "UK and Israel sign trade continuity agreement". Gov.UK.UK–Israel FTA
- Chaplin, Chloe (27 January 2020). "Brexit trade deals: the agreements in place already, from Chile to the Faroe Islands". INews.com.UK–Jordan FTA
- "UK–Kosovo FTA" (PDF).
- Burns, Conor (September 19, 2019). "UK and Lebanon sign trade continuity agreement". Gov.UK.UK–Lebanon FTA
- "UK/Liechtenstein: Additional Agreement extending certain provisions of UK/Swiss Trade Agreement to Liechtenstein [CS Liechtenstein No.1/2019]". GOV.UK.
- Burns, Conor (October 26, 2019). "UK and Morocco sign continuity agreement". Gov.UK.UK–Morocco FTA
- "UK and Pacific Islands sign trade continuity agreement". Gov.UK. March 14, 2019. UK–Pacific States FTA
- "UK and Palestinian Authority sign trade continuity agreement". Gov.UK. February 18, 2019.UK–Palatine Authority FTA
- Truss, Elizabeth (August 21, 2019). "UK and Korea to sign trade continuity deal to ensure businesses are ready to trade post-Brexit". Gov.UK.UK–South Korea FTA
- Truss, Elizabeth (September 11, 2019). "UK agreed trade continuity with 6 African nations". Gov.UK.UK -SACU & Mozambique FTA
- Fox, Liam (February 11, 2019). "UK and Switzerland sign trade continuity agreement". Gov.UK. UK–Switzerland FTA
- Burns, Conor (October 4, 2019). "UK and Tunisia sign continuity agreement". Gov.UK.UK–Tunisia FTA
- "Ukraine And Britain Sign Agreement On Free Trade, Political Cooperation, And Strategic Partnership". Ukraine News. October 8, 2020.
- "Exporting to Cote d'Ivoire from 1 January 2021". GOV.UK.
- "UK and Japan sign free trade agreement". GOV.UK.
- Howell, David (2020-09-21). "Japan-U.K. trade deal: Cheer amidst the gloom". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
- "UK and Australia agree continuity of Mutual Recognition Agreement". Gov.UK. January 18, 2019. UK–Australia MRA
- Fox, Liam (January 22, 2019). "UK and New Zealand to continue Mutual Recognition Agreement as PM Jacinda Ardern visits UK". Gov.UK. UK–New Zealand MRA
- "UK and USA agree to continue Mutual Recognition Agreement". Gov.UK. February 14, 2019. UK–USA MRA
- "Accords commerciaux : ce sur quoi l'Europe travaille | Actualité | Parlement européen". www.europarl.europa.eu. October 19, 2016.
- Burden, Lizzy (2020-08-16). "UK-Canada trade talks back on the table". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- MENAFN. "Egypt, UK to sign free trade agreement after Brexit: Trade Minister". menafn.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "ИНТЕРВЈУ со Рејчел Галовеј: Поткопувањето на Преспа не помага". Слободен печат (in Macedonian). 2020-02-11. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "Britain, Ukraine to sign new deal on free trade, strategic partnership". KyivPost. 2020-04-16. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "Joint declaration on UK - Viet Nam strategic partnership: forging ahead for another 10 years". Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. 2020-09-30. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
- "Existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries". Gov.UK. 6 August 2020.
- "Brexit trade deals on the table at UK-Africa summit -". African Business Magazine. 2020-01-17. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- Basu, Nayanima (July 10, 2020). "India, UK to soon launch talks for free-trade pact, ministers to meet virtually in July-end". The Print.
- Viga Gaier, Rodrigo; Teixeira, Marcelo; Maler, Sandra (31 January 2020). "Brazil to seek a Mercosur-UK trade deal similar of agreement with EU". Reuters.
- "Bangladesh needs free trade agreement with the UK". The Daily Star. Dhaka. 20 August 2020.
- "The EU and Britain start negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal". The Economist. Mar 1, 2020.
- Truss, Elizabeth (May 5, 2020). "UK and US start trade negotiations". Gov.UK.
- Fox, Benjamin (July 24, 2020). "UK and Norway to open trade pact talks amid warnings of new trade barriers".
- Leeuwen, Hans van (17 June 2020). "Australia kicks off talks for trade deal with post-Brexit Britain". Financial Review.
- McCullough, Yvette (June 17, 2020). "NZ begins free trade talks for 'comprehensive' deal with UK". Radio New Zealand.
- "Uhuru and Boris agree to start post Brexit trade negotiations". The Standard. July 4, 2020.
- "UK government formally announces a road map to CPTPP accession in June policy paper". Lexology. June 30, 2020.
- (1) England (2) Payne, (1) Andrew (2) Sebastian (July 10, 2020). "Turkish foreign minister says trade deal with UK 'very close'". Financial Times.
- "Trade and Investment Core Statistics Book" (PDF). Gov.UK. May 20, 2020.