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Back to the future? The UK’s free trade agreements after Brexit

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Townsend Matthew
Matthew Townsend

Partner

London

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Benson Jonathan
Jonathan Benson

Senior Associate

London

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06 October 2020

With the end of the Brexit-related transition period fast approaching, the United Kingdom has been involved in a flurry of negotiations concerning free trade agreements (FTAs) as it strives to avoid falling back on rudimentary World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules with many of its existing trade partners.

Ensuring that the UK’s trading relationships continue on the same footing as now is vital as, in 2018, 49% of the UK’s trade was with the EU, 11% with countries that are parties to EU FTAs and 40% with the rest of the world.1 All businesses engaged in trade involving the UK that is impacted by the terms of an EU-third State FTA are potentially affected by the outcome of these negotiations.

In this article, we analyse the UK’s changing ability to negotiate FTAs, the UK’s progress in securing the continuity of its trading relationships with third States and the current state of play in respect of the UK’s efforts to secure freestanding FTAs with the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, as well as the UK’s “pivot to the Asia Pacific region”.

1These figures are taken from here