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The big rationale touted by those who wanted Britain to leave the EU was that we would be able "to do trade deals around the world".

By virtue of our membership of the EU, thanks to its clout in world trade, we had deals with about seventy other countries. I believe most of those have now been rolled over.

But where can I discover the names of all the new trading partners we now have, who were going to make all the very real pain we are suffering from leaving the Community worthwhile?

Is there a list somewhere?

5

the Enhanced Trade Partnership with India, on Feb 10th is an agreement to improve trade (although short of a comprehensive free trade treaty). The EU does not currently have a trade agreement with India. There is also the UK-Japan deal CEPA, signed back in October, however it can be seen as a modification of the EU-Japan deal that was signed in 2019 (after the UK had voted to leave). Agreements with Canada, Albania, Jordan, and Mexico are expected "soon" (but some of these agreements may be less than stellar, consisting of agreeing to trade under WTO terms) (source dated 15 Feb 21)

And the UK has applied to join CPTPP, a Pacific association with Japan, Australia and Chile and other Pacific nations. It remains to be seen if this will be successful. Australia seems generally supportive, Japan (the largest economy in the block) remains tight-lipped.

Trade agreements are notoriously complex, and comprehensive trade agreements take years to construct. Many countries seem to have been reluctant to enter into substantive negotiations until the nature of the EU-UK relationship was clarified, and it would not have been legal under EU rules to negotiate until January 2020.

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  • 1
    Hasn't the UK already had years to negotiate these agreements? They were able to do this prior to leaving the EU with deals to start after exit/transition right?
    – Jontia
    Mar 7 at 9:04
  • 4
    @Jontia other countries were unwilling to enter into substantive negotiations until the nature of the trade between the UK and EU was clarified
    – James K
    Mar 7 at 9:36
  • 4
    @Jontia The UK was not permitted to even begin negotiations with any other countries until they actually left the European Union at the end of January 2020.
    – Joe C
    Mar 7 at 9:39
  • 8
    @JoeC that doesn't seem quite right, given the UK announced a number of deals in 2019. Before leaving
    – Jontia
    Mar 7 at 10:09
  • 2
    The Japan-UK deal is copy/pasted from the EU one, the only difference being that the UK only gets the left-over quotas that the EU doesn't use. So it is neither a new deal nor better than the one we had, it's substantially worse.
    – user
    Apr 7 at 7:07

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