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This briefing summarises the UK’s progress in its negotiations for free trade agreements (FTAs). It looks at negotiations which have already started and countries where the UK Government is making preparations before negotiations start. It does not go into detail on the content of the agreements or negotiations. It focusses on ‘new’ trade agreements – not those which rolled over previous EU agreements.

Signed agreements

The UK has signed three new trade agreements since leaving the EU. The agreement with Australia was signed in 2021 and that with New Zealand in 2022. These agreements came into force at the end of May 2023.

In July 2023, the UK signed an agreement to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – an Asia-Pacific trade bloc of 11 countries.

In addition, the UK has signed two digital trade agreements. The digital trade agreement with Singapore was signed in February 2022 and entered into force on 14 June 2022. A digital trade agreement with Ukraine was signed on 20 March 2023.

Current free trade agreement negotiations

The UK Government has started negotiations for a trade agreement with the countries listed below.

  • US: There is no current trade agreement between the UK and the US. Negotiations started in May 2020 but there have been none since October 2020. An agreement is not expected soon.
  • India: There is no current trade agreement between the UK and India. Negotiations started on 17 January 2022. The Government had hoped that these negotiations would be completed by October 2022 but this deadline has been missed.
  • Canada: there is an existing trade agreement with Canada which largely replicates that which Canada has with the EU. Negotiations for a new UK-Canada trade agreement were launched in March 2022.
  • Mexico: Negotiations were launched in May 2022 to update the existing UK-Mexico trade agreement. This largely replicates the agreement Mexico has with the EU.
  • Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC): The GCC represents six states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE). The UK currently does not have a free trade agreement with any of these countries. Negotiations started in June 2022.
  • Israel: Negotiations were launched on 20 July 2022 to update the existing UK-Israel agreement which largely replicates the agreement Israel has with the EU.
  • Switzerland: Negotiations were launched on 15 May 2023 to update the existing UK-Switzerland agreement which largely replicates the EU-Switzerland agreement.

Where the UK is preparing for free trade agreement negotiations

In December 2022, a consultatation on an enhanced FTA wih South Korea was launched. This aims to upgrade the existing UK-South Korea agreement which replicates the EU’s agreement with South Korea. The consultation ran until 2 February 2023.

The Government has launched a call for input on a goods-only free trade agreement with the Republic of Maldives. The call for input closes on 2 August 2023.

In July 2023, the Government announced plans to begin negotiations for an updated trade agreement with Turkey. Negotiations are expected to begin in 2024.

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