Since the United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, the country has been seeking new opportunities and trade deals globally. One of the most significant areas of focus has been on preferential trade agreements, or PTAs, which are agreements between countries that reduce tariffs and other trade barriers.
With Brexit complete, the UK is now able to negotiate and sign its own PTAs without the constraints of EU membership. These agreements are crucial as they allow the UK to maintain trade relationships with current partners and develop new opportunities with other countries. Here`s what we know so far about the UK`s preferential trade agreements post-Brexit.
The UK – Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)
One of the most significant PTAs that the UK has signed post-Brexit was the UK – Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on October 23, 2020. The agreement ensures tariff-free trade on almost all UK exports to Japan, which is the world`s third-largest economy. Additionally, this PTA ensures greater market access for UK goods and services in Japan, which was previously limited due to the EU`s existing trade deal with Japan.
UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement
The UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement is another significant PTA that was signed on November 21, 2020. This agreement ensures that tariff-free trade between the two countries can continue after Brexit. The agreement also covers other important aspects like digital trade, professional and business services, and environmental and labor standards.
UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
Another PTA that the UK signed post-Brexit is the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which was agreed on December 10, 2020. The trade agreement covers a range of areas including goods, services, digital trade, and investment. It aims to strengthen the economic ties between the UK and Singapore and foster a more prosperous and sustainable future.
Future PTAs for the UK
With Brexit now complete, the UK is actively looking to expand its PTA`s globally. The country is currently in discussions with several partners, including Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, among others. Negotiations with Australia and New Zealand are well underway, and the UK recently announced that it had reached an agreement in principle with Australia on a free trade deal.
Another significant area of focus for the UK is Africa, as the country works to develop an economic partnership with the continent. Negotiations for the UK`s first PTA with an African nation, Kenya, are currently in progress. The agreement aims to boost trade between the UK and Africa and foster sustainable development.
In conclusion, the UK is proactively seeking new preferential trade agreements after Brexit to ensure it can maintain its trade relationships with existing partners and develop new opportunities. The UK`s recent PTAs with Japan, Canada, and Singapore highlight the country`s commitment to developing new partnerships globally. As negotiations progress with other partners, it is expected that the UK will continue to expand its trade agreements and become a more prominent player in the global economy.