The United Kingdom is yet to finalise any of the existing 40 free trade deals that the European Union has forged with other big economies in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario.
Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary of the United Kingdom, said that he was hopeful of deals being done before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on the 29th of March, however, he insisted that it was not just dependent on the UK.
In 2017, in an attempt to avoid trade disruption, Fox announced that the United Kingdom could “replicate the 40 free trade agreements before we leave the EU.”
Last Friday, when asked during an interview with the BBC whether the United Kingdom would be any closer to signing those 40 free trade deals, Fox answered: “I hope they will be but they are not just dependent on the UK. Our side is ready.”
He added: “It’s largely dependent on other whether countries believe that there will be no deal and are willing to put the work in to the preparations.”
The Department for Trade disclosed that a number of the deals were at an advanced stage, however, it said that none of them has been rolled over to cover the United Kingdom after Brexit.
There is an initial agreement with Switzerland that aims to maintain the same relationship that the European Union holds with the country, however, nothing has been signed formally.
Last Friday, Fox did sign a “mutual recognition agreement” with Australia that aims to maintain all of the current relevant aspects that it has with the European Union, however, it is not considered as a free trade deal.
Fox added that there would be a “pipeline of them to be signed as we go through.” He claimed that the deal with Australia would make it easier for exports from the United Kingdom to comply with the standards set by Australia.
Fox also be dismissed the notion of staying in the permanent customs arrangement with the European Union as it would “not be delivering Brexit” and would not allow the United Kingdom to secure an independent trade policy.