The table below gives a list of the EU’s trade agreements. The EU has trade agreements with around 70 partners. The number of agreements is lower as some cover more than one country. The EU’s partners in these agreements range from large economies, such as Japan and South Korea, to very small economies such as Dominica and St Vincent & the Grenadines. The trade agreements account for around 14-15% of UK trade in goods.
Brexit Progress in Rolling Over EU Trade Agreements to UK Agreements
Date for progress below February 28th 2019 (update)
In the main, the table above shows EU agreements with third countries in force or partially in force. The table is based on information published by the Department for International Trade on 21 February 2019.
The table includes (Deep and Comprehensive) Free Trade Agreements, Association Agreements, Stabilisation Agreements, Customs Unions and Economic Partnership Agreements. It does not include Partnership and Co-operation Agreements. Details of the individual EU agreements are on the European Commission website.
The table above shows trade agreements only. The total number of EU agreements that the UK will need to replace covers a much wider range of subjects. It has been estimated that there could be more than 750 agreements in total (trade and non-trade).
Date for progress below February 15th 2019
These EU agreements are expected to no longer apply to the UK at the end of the transition period in the event of a deal or on Brexit day if there is no deal. The Government aims to negotiate new deals with these countries to provide continuity. If there is an agreement with the EU, the UK will continue to be bound by the obligations of the EU’s trade agreements during the transition period. The EU will notify the third countries that the UK is to be treated as if it were a Member State during the transition period for the purposes of these agreements (Article 129 of the draft Withdrawal Agreement). It will be for the third countries to decide whether to do so.
The Government has published details of its new agreements with Chile, the Faroe Islands and the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) states (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe). The scrutiny provisions of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 apply to these agreements.(1)
In each case, the text of the agreement, an Explanatory Memorandum and a Parliamentary report have been published (available here: Chile, Faroe Islands, ESA). On 11 February, the Government announced that a trade continuity agreement with Switzerland had been signed.(2)
On 13 February, The Sun published a leaked document from the Department of International Trade showing progress in replacing EU-third country trade agreements.(3)
This showed that only 6 agreements were on course to be ready for March 2019. These agreements were those with Chile, a group of Eastern and Southern African countries, the Faroe Islands, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Switzerland. A further 27 agreements were described as “off-track” or “significantly off-track”. The document said that it would not be possible to have four agreements (with Japan, Turkey, Moldova and Algeria) ready by March.(4) The colour-coding of the table of EU trade agreements below is largely based on this leaked document obtained by The Sun.
On 13 February 2019, the Secretary of State for International Trade, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, responded to an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on the replication of EU trade agreements.(5)
Other agreements are expected in the coming weeks. The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU wrote to the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP on 25 January 2019 with an update on negotiations to replace EU agreements with third countries (see letter and Annex).
The Financial Times reported on 7 February 2019 that the Government had told business that it could not guarantee that most of the EU trade agreements would be rolled over by 29 March.(6)
The table shows agreements in force or partially in force. It does not include those which have been signed but not yet implemented. The table includes (Deep and Comprehensive) Free Trade Agreements, Association Agreements, Stabilisation Agreements, Customs Unions and Economic Partnership Agreements.(7) It does not include Partnership and Cooperation Agreements. Details of the individual agreements are on the European Commission website. The table above shows trade agreements only. The total number of EU agreements that the UK will need to replace covers a much wider range of subjects. It has been estimated that there could be more than 750 agreements in total (trade and non-trade).(8)
1 For more on these scrutiny provisions, see Parliament’s role in ratifying treaties, Commons Library Briefing Paper 05855, 17 February 2017
2 DIT Press Release, UK and Switzerland sign trade continuity agreement, 11 February 2019. There is more information on the Swiss agreement on the Swiss Government website and comment from Peter Ungphakorn, What have the UK and Switzerland agreed on trade post-Brexit?, 12 February 2019
3 ‘Signed deals not delivered’, The Sun, 13 February 2019
4 Moldova also appears on the “significantly off track” category.
6 ‘Failure to seal ‘most’ Brexit trade deals infuriates business leaders’, Financial Times, 7 February 2019
7 EPAs are trade and development agreements between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. EPAs aim to contribute to sustainable development and to reduce poverty. EPAs open up EU markets fully and immediately while permitting the partner countries a longer period to open up their markets.
8 After Brexit: the UK will need to renegotiate at least 759 treaties, Financial Times, 30 May 2017
UK Governments Progress on Securing Brexit Agreements
As you might expect many of the UKs trade partners won’t agree to MoUs until they have to, but they are slowly trickling in.
How we would ensure continuity for the UK’s existing free trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal.
UK and Pacific Islands Sign Trade Continuity Agreement
A trade continuity agreement will see British businesses and consumers benefitting from continued trading arrangements with Fiji and Papua New Guinea after the UK leaves the EU.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox signed the UK-Pacific agreement in London today (Thursday 14 March) with the Papua New Guinea and Fiji High Commissioners.
The news has been welcomed by businesses including Tate & Lyle Sugars and Fiji Sugar Corporation, who say the sugar industry provides a living to nearly a quarter of the Fijian population.
The agreement allows businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs. It eliminates all tariffs on all goods imported from Fiji and Papua New Guinea into the UK and will gradually remove around 80% of tariffs on British exports to these countries.
These preferential terms are part of the UK government’s commitment to supporting developing countries to reduce poverty through trade. It will help them to grow their economies, create jobs, increase incomes and reduce reliance on overseas aid in the long-term.
UK and Palestinian Authority Sign Trade Continuity Agreement
The agreement simplifies trade and will allow businesses to trade as freely as they do now once the UK leaves the EU.
Trading on these preferential terms, rather than on World Trade Organization terms, will continue to deliver significant savings and help to further strengthen the bilateral trading relationship.
The agreement allows Palestinian businesses to continue access to the UK market tariff-free which will continue to benefit Palestinian producers in priority sectors, including exporters of fruit, nuts and vegetable fats including dates and olive oil.
Today’s signing reflects the importance of bilateral relations between the UK and the Palestinian Authority. The Agreement demonstrates the UK’s commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation, promoting Palestinian economic growth, and maintaining the UK’s strong commitment to a two-state solution.
UK and Israel Sign Trade Continuity Agreement
A trade continuity agreement will see British businesses and consumers benefitting from continued trade with Israel after we leave the European Union.
International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade, the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, signed the UK-Israel agreement in Jerusalem today (Monday 18 February) with Minister of Economy and Industry, Eli Cohen.
The news has been welcomed by business groups including the Israel Britain Chamber of Commerce, who say it will help to support jobs and ensure continuity for both British consumers and businesses who will be able to continue trading without disruption.
The agreement simplifies trade and allows businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs.
Trading on these preferential terms rather than on World Trade Organization terms will deliver significant savings and help to safeguard British jobs.
This will help to further strengthen the trading relationship between the UK and Israel, which was worth £4 billion in the year ending 2018 Q3.
UK and USA Agree to Continue Mutual Recognition Agreement
The UK and USA sign an agreement to continue existing arrangements which help facilitate goods trade between the two nations.
An arrangement which helps boost British trade with the US will continue when the UK leaves the European Union, supporting jobs in both countries.
The agreement will maintain all relevant aspects of the current EU-US MRA when the EU-US agreement ceases to apply to the UK. It helps facilitate goods trade between the two nations and means UK exporters can continue to ensure goods are compliant with technical regulations before they depart the UK, saving businesses time, money and resources. American exporters to the UK benefit in the same way.
Total UK-US trade in sectors covered by the deal is worth up to £12.8 billion, based on recent average trade flows. Of this, the UK exports covered are worth an estimated £8.9 billion- more than a fifth of total UK goods exports to the US. Today’s signing marks a crucial step in the important trading relationship between the UK and America, the world’s largest economy.
The agreement benefits a range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals account for around £7.7 billion of UK exports to the US – nearly 18% of total UK goods exports to the US. Other industries that will benefit include the tech sector and telecommunications equipment suppliers.
UK and Faroe Islands Sign Trade Continuity Agreement
A trade continuity agreement will see British businesses and consumers benefitting from continued trade with the Faroe Islands after we leave the European Union.
Trade Policy Minister, George Hollingbery signed the UK-Faroe Islands agreement in London yesterday (Thursday 31 January) with Faroese Minister for Trade and Industry, Poul Michelsen. Fisheries Minister George Eustice attended the ceremony, highlighting the importance of the UK’s relationship with the Faroe Islands and the importance of Faroese exports for the UK processing sector.
With almost £200 million worth of fish and crustaceans brought into the UK from the Faroe Islands in 2017, this agreement will allow imports to continue tariff-free and enable businesses to trade as freely as they do now.
Trading on these preferential terms will secure savings and help to safeguard access to fish products from the Faroe Islands.
Consumers in the UK will potentially benefit from greater choice and lower prices for fish and seafood such as Atlantic salmon, haddock and halibut.
This will ensure fresh, quality and affordable produce is readily available for British retailers and consumers.
UK and Chile Sign Continuity Agreement
The news has been welcomed by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, which confirmed that this is important to protect parts of the UK’s wine industry, which contributes almost £19 billion to the UK economy supporting around 190,000 jobs.
This trade continuity agreement has been agreed as we prepare to leave the EU on 29 March, and we expect to sign a number of other agreements due to be agreed in the coming weeks.
This certainty will help to further strengthen the trading relationship between the UK and Chile which was worth £1.8 billion and grew by 11% in 2017.
UK manufacturers benefit from preferential access to the Chilean market to sell their goods, and UK consumers benefit from lower prices on Chilean goods, such as wines, fruits and nuts and other products.
Trade in goods and services between the UK and Chile has grown by 9% per year on average since the agreement was provisionally applied in 2003. UK exports to Chile have grown by 16% on average each year and a total increase of 351% since the agreement was provisionally applied.
The agreement also protects intellectual property rights and maintains preferential market access for trade in services.
UK and Australia Agree Continuity of Mutual Recognition Agreement
An arrangement which helps boost British trade with Australia will continue when the UK leaves the European Union, supporting jobs in both countries.
The Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment (MRA) was signed by the International Trade Secretary and the Australian High Commissioner to the UK in London today (Friday 18 January).
The agreement maintains all relevant aspects of the current EU-Australia MRA. It helps facilitate trade flows between the two nations and means UK exporters can ensure goods are compliant with Australian technical regulations before they depart the UK, saving businesses time, money and resources. Australian exporters to the UK benefit in the same way.
Total UK exports in sectors covered by the deal are worth an estimated £2 billion. Today’s signing marks a crucial step in the important trading relationship between the UK and Australia, one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Today’s signing will ensure UK and Australian businesses can continue to benefit from existing arrangements for mutual recognition as they do currently, even if the UK leaves the European Union without an agreement.
On top of this, the UK and Australia have both committed to seeking a new ambitious, comprehensive free trade agreement that will allow UK and Australian companies to enjoy an even closer trading relationship after the UK leaves the European Union.
UK and Switzerland Agree to Transition Trade Agreement After Brexit
The UK government and the Swiss Federal Council have approved the transition of a trade agreement, allowing businesses to continue trading freely after the UK leaves the European Union.
This is the first and one of the most significant existing trade agreements to the UK to have been agreed as part of the government’s preparations to ensure continuity for businesses and consumers as we leave the EU.
There are around 40 existing EU trade agreements that the UK government is seeking to provide continuity for and a number of other agreements are at an advanced stage.
The agreement replicates the existing EU-Switzerland arrangements as far as possible and will come into effect as soon as the implementation period ends in January 2021, or on 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It has now been initialled by both countries.
Joint statement on UK and Eastern and Southern Africa EPA
Joint meeting of the UK and Eastern and Southern Africa states (ESA) on a future UK-ESA Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to ensure trade continuity.
This significant progress will ensure continuity of trade relations between the UK and ESA States once the EU-ESA EPA no longer applies to the UK, meaning that the parties will maintain the current market access and replicate the effects of the existing EU-ESA EPA. This confirmation, and the future UK-ESA EPA, are without prejudice to the terms of the EU-ESA EPA.
UK-Southern African trade: boosting UK and African economies
A UK-Southern African Economic Partnership Agreement will be ready as soon as the EU deal no longer applies to the UK.
The UK-Southern African Economic Partnership Agreement is a key element of a package of measures to boost African growth outlined by the Prime Minister, who highlighted that Africa’s long-term success matters to the UK, so it is in the world’s interest to help secure African jobs and growth.
Trade Minister George Hollingbery, who is joining Theresa May for her Africa visit, met with his counterpart from Botswana, who represented the trade ministers from the 5 Southern African Customs Union countries (South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini (Swaziland)) and Mozambique.
Derived from House of Commons List of EU Trade Agreements Paper 7792 Copyright: Open Government Licence v3.0