The Government has published an updated list of trade agreements and mutual recognition agreements signed by the UK with third countries, so that trade can continue after the UK`s withdrawal from the EU (hopefully) with minimal disruption. It also published a report entitled “UK trade with trade agreement (TAC) countries – the statistics”, which indicates that agreements have been signed in the meantime with countries that account for 53% of the UK`s trade with TAC countries. Once the agreement between the UK and Korea is in force (see below), this figure will rise to 63% of this trade. The report notes that the agreements guarantee the continuity of British trade of $88 billion, which has increased by $39 billion in the last three months. Canada and Mexico are among the target countries for TACs with which agreement is not yet needed. The government has also published an updated version of its guidelines on existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Fishing – In the fisheries sector, the UK and the EU are expected to ratify new fisheries agreements by 1 July 2020, i.e. before the end of the transition period. This should attract the attention of some media in the coming months! While the seconds before the UK leaves the EU tonight at 11pm, the first part of the Brexit saga comes to an end after three and a half years of political turmoil. However, given that the UK and the EU have agreed on a transitional period until the end of 2020, the legal landscape will remain virtually unchanged until then.
From tomorrow, attention will be focused on negotiations on the future trade agreement, which will apply from the end of the transition period between the UK and the EU, provided, of course, that it is possible for both sides to agree on conditions. Otherwise, the UK will face a trade cliff at the end of the year and future trade with the EU will not be in line with WTO (World Trade Organisation) conditions. So what is the amount of the possibility of concluding a free trade agreement with the EU (without tariffs and no quotas for goods)? The EU will publish its negotiating mandate around next week, but it is a sure bet that its two “red lines” will be: (1) a commitment by the UK to maintain its current level of regulation of employment standards, environmental standards and taxation as a “non-regression obligation” and to follow all future EU rules on competition and state aid (“dynamic harmonisation”); and (2) an agreement on authorising EU fishing in UK territorial waters. The reason why the EU insists so much on the “Level Playing Ton” commitment described in (1) is that it fears that a deregulated United Kingdom (“Singapore-on-Thames”) will have huge negative consequences for its economies just on its doorstep.