The Government has consulted on possible future trade agreements with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and a call for contributions for a possible agreement with Japan. The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020. Subsequently, the United Kingdom entered a transitional period that ends on 31 December 2021. During this period, the United Kingdom still has to turn away from the internal market and the customs union, a process that is arguably more laborious and complex than the initial withdrawal agreement. The next deadline of 31 December 2020 has the potential to have a much deeper impact on agriculture. Although the UK Government has continued to sign continuity agreements, they still account for a small portion of the UK`s total agricultural exports, but some important partners have yet to be signed. If the UK leaves the customs union and the internal market without a trade deal, the UK will trade with the EU and a number of other important partners with regard to WTO rules which, as we have already studied, will have a number of effects on agriculture. DIT argues, however, that it is not uncommon for countries to apply a provisional application, meaning that a renewed trade agreement would enter into force before the 21-day period began or was completed. What do free trade agreements mean for British businesses? The UK and THE EU are negotiating a trade deal that is expected to start on 1 January 2021, when the new UK-EU relationship will begin. The Truss department has signed a series of continuity agreements to ensure that the UK can continue to negotiate with third countries on similar terms when the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December. If the UK were to act in accordance with WTO rules, tariffs would apply to most of the products that British companies send to the EU. This would make British goods more expensive and more difficult to sell in Europe. The UK could also do so for EU products if it so wishes.
“We are working with our partners to ensure that continuity agreements signed with the 52 partner countries can enter into force after the end of the transition period.” 3) The United Kingdom signed a trade agreement with Iceland and Norway on 2 April 2019. The agreement was signed to maintain continued trade and was part of preparations for a possible “no deal” Brexit. It will not come into force. The UK`s future relations with these countries are influenced by their relations with the EU, as they are EEA member states. We will continue to work with Iceland and Norway to determine the most effective method of maintaining and strengthening trade with them beyond the transition period. The UK trade agreement with Israel includes the assessment of industrial product compliance. This means that existing agreements with Israel will continue after 31 December 2020. Brexit is once again relegated to the forefront of the media and various developments are looming, increasing tensions and the intensity of trade negotiations within the EU.
Last year, we analysed how the UK government has made progress in securing other free trade agreements around the world and we have looked at some of the nuances of these agreements.