The UK and THE EU are negotiating a trade deal that is expected to start on 1 January 2021, when the new UK-EU relationship will begin. Many of the EU agreements concern less developed countries, which generally have fairly high tariffs on certain products. In this case, British exporters could lose the advantage of a reduction in preferential tariffs, making them significantly less competitive, particularly compared to suppliers established in the EU. While a member of the EU, the UK was automatically part of some 40 trade agreements that the EU has concluded with more than 70 countries. In 2018, these activities accounted for about 11% of total trade in the UK. The UK is trying to replicate the effects of existing EU agreements at a time when they no longer apply to the UK. All UK trade statistics have been updated to correct an error. The UK has signed a free trade agreement with Japan. The UK has left the EU. The withdrawal agreement sets out how the UK can continue to ignore trade agreements between the EU and third countries until 31 December 2020. As the Brexit-related transition period approaches, the UK is embedding a flood of negotiations on free trade agreements, anxious not to reverse the rudimentary rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) with many of its existing trading partners. The following agreements with countries and trading blocs are expected to enter into force when existing EU trade agreements no longer apply to the UK from 1 January 2021.
On this basis, EU trade agreements can continue to apply to the UK. WTO conditions would also involve comprehensive border controls on goods, which could lead to bottlenecks at ports and considerable delays. There are concerns about some border delays, even if an agreement is reached, because it will not be as narrow as the current agreements. 1) Source of trade statistics: ONS UK Total trade: all countries, not seasonally adjusted from April to June 2020. To date, more than 20 of these existing agreements covering 50 countries or territories have been shaken up with the exception of I.V. and will begin on 1 January 2021. Based on 2018 figures, this represents about 8% of total trade in the UK. But it is clear that new agreements with some countries will not be ready in time. The agreements that the government has successfully implemented contribute about 56% of the total value of UK exports to countries with which the EU has a free trade agreement. It is essential that two of the three main countries that receive most of the UK`s products through EU free trade agreements have not yet signed trade agreements; Singapore and Canada.
It is important to note that, whether the UK leaves the EU with or without an agreement, it acts as an independent partner and, therefore, any country with which it has not signed a continuity agreement will act on WTO terms. The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020. Subsequently, the United Kingdom entered a transitional period that ends on 31 December 2021. During this period, the United Kingdom still has to turn away from the internal market and the customs union, a process that is arguably more laborious and complex than the initial withdrawal agreement.