Our priority is to be in a position to begin formal negotiations with key partners after we leave the EU, and to then make progress towards substantive agreements, so long as such agreements work for the whole of the UK. We have completed public consultations on potential future free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and on the UK’s potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). We plan to publish Government responses for each of the four consultations before any formal negotiations begin.
Trade agreements vary in shape, scope and form, and there is no “average” timeframe for completion. For example, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada took seven years to negotiate, the China-Switzerland FTA took two, but the USA-Jordan FTA negotiations only four months. The Government is clear that its objective is to negotiate the best possible FTAs for the whole of the UK, in the interests of business and consumers.
While we are looking to forge new agreements, the Government is also seeking continuity for our existing EU trade agreements as we leave the EU. A list of all signed trade continuity agreements is available on the GOV.UK website.