Life after Brexit: UK Trade Deals So Far
Updated: May 6
Despite all our fears, trade continues to turn the wheels of industry and commerce. Positive new trade deals have been forged, with developments continuing to be announced as 2021 rolls onwards.
In the new post-Brexit world, the UK is no longer automatically part of trade deals the EU has negotiated with other countries. This is no small matter. The EU had about 40 trade deals covering more than 70 countries at the time the UK left. It’s now up to the UK to sort out its own deals.
It's now up to the UK to sort out its own trade deals
As of 1 January 2021, EU trade agreements no longer apply to the UK. As such, the UK has been negotiating to tie down similar trade agreements to ensure continuity for UK business. We have now made deals to continue trading in the same way with most of these countries. You can see the full list on the gov.uk website here.
Deals with four countries have not yet fully come into force, although the trade deals are expected to be finalised later this year:
Other Trade Deals
The UK signed a deal with Japan in October 2020 that differed from the existing EU deal. The total value of UK-Japan trade (imports and exports) was 2% of the UK's total trade in 2019.
Asia and Pacific Nations
On 31 January, the UK government applied to join a free trade area with 11 Asia and Pacific nations called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Current members include Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand. The UK government is also holding separate trade talks with the US, Australia and New Zealand.
Earlier this month, the government announced new trade and investment deals with India worth £1bn. This includes more than £533m of new investment from India into the UK, which is expected to create about 6,000 jobs. There is the expectation that this new partnership will ‘pave the way’ for a future UK-India Free Trade Agreement.