EPRS Admin By / December 22, 2020

State of play of UK trade agreements

Figure 1 – State of play of UK trade agreements (as of 15 December 2020).

Figure 1 – State of play of UK trade agreements (as of 15 December 2020)

Already before it left the EU on 1 February 2020, the UK had secured continuity agreements with the EU’s FTA partners, rolling over the existing EU FTAs, in the event that the UK were to have withdrawn from the EU without an agreement. On top of the continuity agreements under discussion, the UK is negotiating new trade agreements with Australia, the EU, New Zealand, and the United States (US). Japan and the UK signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on 23 October 2020. At the time of writing, as of the latest update on the DIT website dated 15 December 2020, the UK had 29 agreements signed or in place with 57 countries, either with a single country or a bloc of countries, and was in discussion with 14 other countries, three of which had already announced that there would be no continuity (Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia).
The UK’s total trade (the sum of exports and imports) is relatively concentrated since only 10 trading countries account for 83.5 % of trade. The EU represents nearly 50 % of UK trade, while the US is the second trading partner (12.3 %). Of its ten largest trading partners, the UK has signed continuity agreements with Switzerland and Canada and a new FTA with Japan. It is negotiating new FTAs with the US and Turkey. A continuity agreement with Iceland and Norway was signed on 8 December.

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