Brexit: How many trade deals has the UK done?


As a European Accord member, the UK is part of about 40 trade agreements which the coalition has with more than 70 countries. If the UK leaves the EU in a no-deal Brexit on 29 Trek, it will immediately lose these deals.

Last year, the UK domination said it wanted to replicate the EU’s trade agreements “as far as possible” and have them prepare to go immediately in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

So how much progress has the government finish out?

‘No deals yet’

Being a part of the EU means the UK (or any other EU member) cannot device its own trade deals. Trade negotiations are instead handled by the EU on behalf of its associates.

These existing arrangements are designed to make trade easier between the EU and the log a few zees Zs of the world. This could include: relaxing certain rules, decrease taxes (tariffs) on imports and exports, or granting easier market access.

The regime estimates that about 11% of UK’s trade relies on the EU’s agreements with other provinces.

But on Thursday, International Trade Minister George Hollingbery told the Routines: “There are no deals yet that have been actually signed.”

Regardless, the minister added that he was confident “the majority of those will be in quarter by 29 March”.


So if no trade deals have been signed, what proceed has been made?

In December, the Department for International Trade revealed that it had approved a profession agreement with Switzerland – although it has not been officially signed.

At the weight more than 100 agreements exist between the EU and Switzerland. These extend over areas such as taxation on savings and agriculture.

The government said the Swiss construction will replicate these existing arrangements “as far as possible” and allow “obligations to continue trading freely”.

Reality Check asked the Department for Universal Trade what “as far as possible” meant, but it was unable to offer us any further intelligibility.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, broadcasted on Twitter that the UK had “agreed in principle” a free trade agreement with Israel. A have dealings conference between the two countries will be held in London in the “coming months”, combined Dr. Fox.

However the Department for International Trade has not published further details on what the claim nature of the Israel agreement will be.

South Africa has said it is stifling to signing a trade deal, but nothing has so far been formally agreed.

The UK has already pricked deals with Australia and New Zealand, but these are in areas known as common recognition agreements and not free trade agreements.

The deal replicates all sides of the current EU agreements and allows for a continuing acceptance of product standards, such as the terming and certifying of wine.


In his update to MPs, Mr Hollingbery conceded that glide over some EU trade agreements would be “challenging”, adding that “one or two” wish be “close to impossible”.

The current lack of signed trade agreements is not a dumbfound to Alan Winters, director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at Sussex University.

“You can’t unreservedly roll over everything, these existing agreements will experience references to EU law, so you cannot avoid some negotiation,” he says.

Some homelands may also be apprehensive in signing deals right now given that it is so unclear what Brexit devise ultimately look like, adds Prof Winters.


So what could the consequences be if exchange arrangements are not fully in place by 29 March and the UK leaves with no extent?

In the countries where the UK had no formal trade agreement, both would oblige to trade under the rules overseen by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Covered by this system, every WTO member is free to negotiate its own tariffs – or burdens – on different goods. But under the rules, members have to offer the unchanged tariff to every other WTO country.

  • Reality Check: What is the WTO opportunity?

Trade will not stop if this were to happen but some obstructions will go up, says Alex Stojanovic, from the Institute for Government come up with tank.

“There is a reason you have trade agreements, it’s that they concede you better trade preferences than WTO terms.

“So some businesses inclination be harmed by tariffs coming into play,” he says.

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