UK trade agreements with non-EU countries

29 January 2020


Trade agreements during the transition period

When the UK leaves the EU, we will enter a transition period until 1 January 2021.

The withdrawal agreement sets out how the UK is able to continue to be covered by EU-third country trade agreements during the transition period.

On this basis, EU trade agreements can continue to apply to the UK.

Where EU trade agreements apply, UK and EU content will continue to count toward the rules of origin requirements in EU trade agreements during the transition period, in exactly the same way as now.

The EU will issue a notification to third countries outlining this approach.

Trade agreements after the transition period

After the transition period ends, EU trade agreements will not apply to the UK.

The UK is seeking to reproduce the effects of existing EU agreements for when they no longer apply to the UK.

This will ensure continuity of trading arrangements for UK businesses.

If we do not reproduce the effects of an existing EU agreement, trade with other World Trade Organization (WTO) members will take place on WTO terms when EU trade agreements cease to apply to the UK.

Find out more about trading under WTO terms.

Trade agreements that have been signed

Agreements with the following countries and trading blocs are expected to take effect when existing EU trade agreements no longer apply to the UK, following the transition period.

Country or bloc Total UK trade with countries, 2018 (£ million) (1)
Andean countries (2) 3,384
CARIFORUM trade bloc 2,859
Central America 1,152
Chile 2,093
Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) trade bloc 1,832
Faroe Islands 251
Georgia 119
Iceland and Norway (3) 30,267
Israel 4,433
Jordan 447
Kosovo 8
Lebanon 794
Liechtenstein 146
Morocco 2,455
Pacific states 160
Palestinian Authority 31
South Korea 14,425
Southern Africa Customs Union and Mozambique (SACUM) trade bloc 10,362
Switzerland 34,742
Tunisia 531
1 Source of trade statistics: ONS UK total trade: all countries, non-seasonally adjusted July to September 2019.
2 After the transition period, it is expected an arrangement will be in place prior to the this agreement taking effect.
3 The UK signed a trade agreement in goods with Iceland and Norway on the 2 April 2019. This agreement was signed to maintain continuity of trade and was part of preparations for a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit. As the UK is leaving the EU with a deal, the agreement will not enter into force.

Trade agreements still in discussion

The following agreements are still under discussion with countries where there are existing EU trade agreements in place.

If an agreement is not reached by the end of the transition period, trade with other WTO members will take place on WTO terms.

Country or bloc Status of discussions
Albania (Western Balkans) Engagement ongoing
Algeria Engagement ongoing
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Western Balkans) Engagement ongoing
Cameroon (Central Africa) Engagement ongoing
Canada Engagement ongoing
Côte d’Ivoire Engagement ongoing
Egypt Engagement ongoing
Ghana (Western Africa) Engagement ongoing
Kenya (EAC) Engagement ongoing
Mexico Engagement ongoing
Moldova Engagement ongoing
Montenegro (Western Balkans) Engagement ongoing
North Macedonia (Western Balkans) Engagement ongoing
Serbia (Western Balkans) Engagement ongoing
Singapore Engagement ongoing
Ukraine Engagement ongoing

Trade agreement discussions with countries in Customs Union with the EU

Andorra, San Marino and Turkey are part of a Customs Unions with the EU. The UK’s future trading relationship with these countries will be influenced by the agreement the UK reaches with the EU.

Trade agreement discussions with Japan

The UK and Japan have agreed to negotiate a new bilateral agreement using the existing EU agreement as a base, looking for opportunities to enhance areas of mutual interest.

Mutual recognition agreements

A mutual recognition agreement (MRA) is one in which countries recognise the results of one another’s conformity assessments.

A conformity assessment is a set of processes that confirm whether a product meets the specified legal requirements. This can include testing, inspection, and certification.

The UK has signed MRAs that replicate the effect of existing EU arrangements. These are expected to take effect at the end of a transition period after the UK leaves the EU. The withdrawal agreement allows for the EU’s arrangements to continue to apply to the UK during the transition period.

The UK has signed MRAs with:

MRA coverage in trade agreements

The UK’s trade agreement with Switzerland incorporates elements of the EU-Switzerland MRA.

The UK’s trade agreement with Israel covers conformity assessment of industrial products. This means that existing arrangements with Israel will continue after the transition period.

MRA discussions with Japan

Discussions with Japan on a UK-Japan MRA are ongoing. The UK and Japan have signed an exchange of letters designed to ensure the continuity of existing arrangements as a temporary measure.


Kindly supplied by GOV.UK


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