The UK’s potential new trade agreements

Countries around the world are already looking at new trade agreements with a UK outside the EU. Natalie Stanton looks at some of the strongest candidates.


Mexico has already drafted a trade agreement with the UK

Now that the UKhas voted to leave the EU, weface the prospect of having to establish new trade agreements from scratch. While this will certainly take a while and involve some hard graft, it's not necessarily a bad thing.

The EU currently has 32 trade agreements in force. But its line-up of trading partners features some gaping holes. For example, the bloc is yet to secure agreements with economic powerhouses including Japan, the US, India, China and Australia.

That's partly due to the difficulty of negotiating each agreement with 28 (or now 27) different states each with different priorities and agendas. The pending EU-Canada trade deal has been held up for years by a dispute with Greece about the naming rights for feta cheese, according to Paul Marshall in the Financial Times.

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It's barely been a week since the EU referendum, but countries around the world are increasingly waking up to the trade possibilities offered by a newly-liberated UK.

The US

A number of senior economists in the US have suggested that it will be easier to negotiate a new trade deal with Britain without interference from the 27 remaining EU countries. "The "back of the queue" statement will be forgotten by the next administration, if not sooner", said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics.

The US Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, and Secretary of State, John Kerry, have both refrained from repeating Obama's trade warning. Meanwhile, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, has already called for the US to pursue a free trade agreement with the UK, arguing that discussions should begin now in order to ensure a "smooth trade relationship".


"The UK is going to look to build its relationships with the rest of the world, and will seek to pursue new opportunities with us", India's deputy finance minister, Jayant Sinha, told the Financial Times this week.

Australia and New Zealand

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has suggested New Zealand and Australia could team up to negotiate a single deal with the UK.


The country has had a trade agreement in place with the EU since 2000, and while only about 0.7% of Mexican exports go to Britain the country's finance minister said he sees Brexit as a "great opportunity".


However, experts have noted that joining the EEA would require the UK to have full freedom of movement a policy unlikely to fly with prominent Leave campaigners.

South Korea

Natalie joined MoneyWeek in March 2015. Prior to that she worked as a reporter for The Lawyer, and a researcher/writer for legal careers publication the Chambers Student Guide. 


She has an undergraduate degree in Politics with Media from the University of East Anglia, and a Master’s degree in International Conflict Studies from King’s College, London.