The UK and Switzerland have signed a deal to continue trading after Brexit as they did before it. The “continuity agreement” – based on the EU’s existing free trade deal with Switzerland – was ratified on Monday. Around £32bn of trade is done between the UK and Switzerland each year, with 15,000 British exporters involved.
The UK is seeking to replicate about 40 EU worlwide free trade agreements, covering more than 70 countries. In 2017, the government announced that the UK could complete them all before leaving the EU on 29 March, to avoid disruption to trade. But with only 46 days until the UK is set to leave, continuity agreements have been signed with only:
The Faroe Islands
Eastern and Southern Africa
Mutual recognition agreements – where a product lawfully sold in one country can be sold in another – have also been signed with Australia and New Zealand.
The director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Carolyn Fairbairn, said the lack of other trade deals being signed was an “emergency” – particularly in the case of South Korea and Japan. (adapted from a BBC report)
Gosh! Four agreements in two years! Right wing Tories don’t like a customs union because they claim they can do better deals than the huge EU has been able to do. Easy, they said. But if all you are going to do is to use the identical EU wording, what precisely is the point of all this chaos and angst? Oh, sorry, of course it is the keep the pesky foreigners out.
All the same, we never thought the Faroe Islands would come so readily to the rescue. Thanks, fellows!
Meanwhile, 36 more agreements to go before March 29th! What an incompetent bunch!