Last reviewed 16 February 2021
Now that EU trade agreements no longer apply to the UK there has been a lot of trade negotiating activity in recent months. This article looks at the key trade agreements that the UK has reached with other countries.
Trade deals with 64 countries plus the EU have now been agreed which accounts for £889 billion of UK bilateral trade. Many agreements have been signed with countries with which the UK had a trading relationship through the EU trade agreements before it left the EU.
Continuity Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)
These so-called continuity FTAs replicate the EU trade agreements as far as possible. In many cases this will be the starting point for further negotiation of a more comprehensive free trade agreement.
Iceland and Norway
The UK signed a trade in goods agreement with Iceland and Norway in December 2020. It will be superseded by a comprehensive FTA with the EEA/EFTA states in 2021 (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Iceland and Norway together was £26.7 billion in 2019.
The UK signed a trade agreement with Canada in December 2020 securing £20 billion worth of trade, but it did not come into force from 1 January 2021. Instead, a Memorandum of Understanding ensures continuity of trading conditions in a number of key areas until the agreement can enter into effect.
A trade agreement was signed with Turkey on 29 December 2020 supporting a trading relationship worth £18.6 billion in 2019. It is of particular importance to the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries. UK businesses exported more than £1 billion worth of machinery and £575 million of iron and steel exports to Turkey in 2019. UK businesses can continue to import under preferential tariffs and vital supply chains will be protected.
The UK signed an FTA with Singapore on 10 December 2020. Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Singapore was £17.6 billion in 2019. The UK Government sees this deal as paving the way for a cutting-edge relationship in digital as part of its plan to make the UK a global hub for tech and services trade post-Brexit.
The UK-Vietnam FTA was agreed on 31 December 2020 and is now in effect. Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Vietnam was £5.8 billion in 2019.
The UK has signed a trade agreement with Mexico which did not come into force from 1 January 2021. Instead, the UK has committed to apply preferential tariff rates on goods imported into the UK from Mexico from 1 January 2021 and Mexico has committed to implement a tariff rebate scheme. Total trade in goods and services with Mexico was £5.3 billion in 2019.
An Association Agreement has been signed with Egypt. Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Egypt was £3.6 billion in 2019.
Negotiations on a new Interim Ghana-UK Trade Partnership Agreement have now been finalised. In 2019, the UK’s total trade with Ghana was worth £1.2 billion.
Partnership, Trade and Cooperation Agreements
Partnership, Trade and Cooperation Agreements have been signed with Moldova, North Macedonia and Albania.
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA)
An EPA is a type of free trade agreement for relationships with developing countries. The UK signed an EPA with the Eastern and Southern Africa countries (ESA) on 6 February 2021. Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe was £1.5 billion in 2017.
EPAs with Cameroon and Kenya were also signed in December 2020. Total UK trade with Cameroon amounted to £200 million in 2019 and total trade in goods and services with Kenya was £1.4 billion.