Thank you for contacting me about future trade agreements.
I welcome that the UK’s exit from the European Union affords our country the opportunity to pursue an ambitious trade agenda by striking new trade agreements with countries across the globe. That is why I welcome that four consultations have been launched to seek the public’s views on the first of these potential bilateral agreements.
As we withdraw from the EU, during the implementation period, our country will be able to negotiate, sign, and ratify trade agreements that will come into force from January 2021. The Government has announced that public consultations will run ahead of any negotiations of new free trade agreements, with four already launched. These will seek views on possible trade agreements with the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and on potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The United States is our largest single trading partner, accounting for £112 billion of UK exports in 2017. With the US making up almost a quarter of world GDP, there is great potential in closer trade ties with our closest strategic ally. Similarly, with UK’s exports to Australia and New Zealand increasing far faster than our global average, improved trade and investment relations with these countries could be hugely beneficial to UK exporters. Trade and investment working group discussions with all three countries have been constructive, with the governments of each having expressed their desire to enter into trade negotiations with the UK.
CPTPP is a trade agreement between 11 countries in the Pacific region, who together constitute a market of 500 million people, covering over 13 per cent of world GDP. With over 7 per cent of the UK’s exports going to these countries, accession to this free trade agreement could be hugely beneficial to our country’s economy.