Brexit boom: UK’s numerous global trade agreements laid bare after one year free from bloc

UK's trade deal with New Zealand praised by Paul Bristow

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HMRC published the country’s regional trade statistics for the third quarter of 2021 this morning. The information, from July to September, outlines the number of goods exporters and importers in each UK region and destination country. The data lays bare what each area of the country contributes to the UK’s post-Brexit trade landscape. The UK’s landmark post-Brexit trade deal with the EU was reached just over a year ago.

The Government said the agreement meant the UK had “taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters”.

Since then, Britain has embarked on a string of post-Brexit trade deals with non-EU nations around the world, which collectively are worth billions of pounds to the UK economy.

But which deals have been inked and which are still being thrashed out over the negotiating table?

The UK’s most recent post-Brexit free trade deal was agreed with Australia last month.

Hailed as “historic” by Australian trade minister Dan Tehan, the agreement unlocks an extra £10.4billion of Australian public sector contracts and ends tariffs on UK exports.

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The deal, set to come into effect this year, is the first the UK has negotiated from scratch, meaning it was not struck on the same terms the UK had while in the EU.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the financial services benefits of the trade pact and said it would allow the UK to send Penguin bars to Australia more cheaply in return for reduced tariffs on the country’s own chocolate biscuits Tim Tams.

Australia’s neighbour New Zealand also agreed to a free trade deal with the UK back in October.

Under the deal, tariffs as high as 10 percent are to be scrapped on a range of UK goods, including clothing, buses, ships and bulldozers.

In exchange, New Zealand favourites like Sauvignon Blanc, Manuka honey and kiwi fruits may be cheaper for UK consumers.

The UK’s deal-making in the Indo-Pacific also includes a post-Brexit free trade agreement signed with Japan, the UK’s 13th-most important goods export market.

Other key deals for the UK include a trade agreement signed with Canada after the two allies agreed to “roll over” their current arrangements.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the UK now has a deal with Switzerland, as well as an agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which will support the UK’s fish processing industry.

The UK has also inked agreements with trade blocs, including the Southern Africa Customs Union and Mozambique, the Eastern and Southern Africa trade bloc, and the Caribbean Forum.

One of the major absences from the UK’s list of post-Brexit trade deals is the US, which has so far been resistant to an agreement.

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US President Joe Biden said in September he would discuss a free trade deal with Mr Johnson “a little bit” and added: “We’re going to have to work that through.”

The two leaders met at the White House as Downing Street said a potential deal with the US remained a “priority”.

Annual trade between the two nations was worth an estimated $273bn (£200bn) in 2019.

Today the UK is launching negotiations with India for a free trade agreement.

Mr Johnson said: “A trade deal with India’s booming economy offers huge benefits for British businesses, workers and consumers.

“We are seizing the opportunities offered in growing economies of the Indo-Pacific to cement our place on the global stage.”

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