An Update on Trade Deal Talks
Trade deals by the UK Government with Japan and New Zealand are progressing in their negotiations. This comes as the UK prepares to ready its trade engagement and supply links ahead of the end of the Transition Period this December. After leaving the EU on 31st January, the UK is seeking trade deals with the world’s most powerful trade partners such as the US, Canada, New Zealand. Each deal will progress at its own pace in terms of the negotiations process, the US trade deal is not expected to be reached in 2020, while others such as the UK-Japan Free Trade Agreement are more advanced in their discussions.
Japan is a significant trade partner for the UK, with trade between the two countries totalling £31.4bn last year, including 9,500 UK-based businesses exporting goods to Japan. It is hoped that the details of this particular deal could be agreed by the end of this month. There have been reports that agriculture was one of the last remaining obstacles to address in negotiations. Such a deal as this could ultimately increase the UK's trade with Japan by about £15bn a year. Should the deal not be reached, UK-Japan trading will automatically switch to World Trade Organisation rules. "We have reached consensus on the major elements of a deal - including ambitious provisions in areas like digital, data and financial services that go significantly beyond the EU-Japan deal," commented Minister for International Development Liz Truss.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand post-Brexit deal has slowed down in terms of the pace of negotiations according to the New Zealand deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. He has said that the UK are not ‘match fit’ for the demands of the trade negotiations. Talks first began last month, however a deal is not expected until next year. UK-New Zealand totalled £2.9 million last year, with the latter hoping to obtain access to UK food markets, something out-of-bounds while the UK was in the EU. Peters implied that the UK was not on par with New Zealand in terms of trading power due to being ‘locked in’ the EU for many years, and criticised the slow pace of talks saying that “we were ready on the 23rd of June, 2016.”