UK barely scratches surface on international trade deals

UK international trade deals article - image 1
Without forty international trade deals and a no-deal Brexit, the UK will be in big trouble. (Image:

The UK has 40 international trade deals with over seventy nations as a European Union member. If Britain leaves the EU with no trade deal, all its EU international trade deals will vanish.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s governments wants to replicate all the trade agreements beforehand, just in case.

How many international trade deals so far?

So, how many of the forty international trade deals has the UK signed so far? Only four!

Two are not even undergoing negotiations, says Barry Gardiner, Labour’s Shadow International Trade Secretary. Another 19 are “significantly off track.”

So far, the UK has signed international trade deals with:

  • Chile, 30th January, 2019. Trade in 2017 was worth £1.8bn.
  • Eastern and Southern Africa, 31st January, 2019. Trade in 2017 was worth £1.5bn.
  • The Faroe Islands, 1st February, 2019. Trade in 2017 was worth £236m.
  • Switzerland, 11th February, 2019. Trade in 2017 was worth £32.1bn.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox Tweeted that the UK had agreed a free trade agreement with Israel “in principle.” He did not mention any date for signing.

Mutual recognition agreements

The UK has signed mutual recognition agreements with New Zealand and Australia. However, they are not international free trade agreements.

UK trade with EU

According to, in 2017, the EU accounted for 53% of UK’s imports and 44% of its exports. The UK exported £274 billions’ worth of goods and services to the EU and imported £342 billions’ worth.

The USA accounted for just under one fifth of British exports and marginally more than 10% of imports.

Even if the United Kingdom managed to sign all forty trade deals, a no-deal Brexit would be devastating for the country.

Apart from a massive decline in international trade, London and other parts of the UK would suffer from an exodus of capital, skilled people, and businesses.

Video – Income Inequality

This Market Business News video explains what international trade is.