To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress he has made in obtaining assurances that the UK will be able to replicate the 40 free trade agreements that the EU has with third party countries during the transition period.
21 February 2019
Alongside the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU undertook to notify its treaty partners that the UK is treated as a Member State for the purposes of EU international agreements during the IP. This includes trade agreements. This notification is expected to issue following signature of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Discussions with all partner countries have demonstrated a commitment to finding a pragmatic way to ensure continuity of our existing international agreements. A number of countries have already publicly welcomed this approach (Library deposit of 13 September DEP2018-0926 provides a list of countries). Others are, understandably, waiting for the notification to be issued before responding formally. We are working closely with our trading partners to ensure that there would be no disruption to trade as we move into the Implementation Period. Alongside this, the government will continue to do the responsible thing and prepare for all eventualities with partner countries, including a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario.