Brexit: What trade deals has the UK done so far?

Liam Fox, Swiss Economic Minister Guy Parmelin and Liechtenstein's Minister for Foreign Affairs shaking hands Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The UK-Swiss agreement signed in Bern on 11 February also applies to neighbouring Liechtenstein

As a European Union member, the UK is automatically part of about 40 trade agreements which the EU has with more than 70 countries.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal it would lose these trade deals immediately - worth about 11% of total UK trade.

To avoid this, Theresa May's government says it wants to replicate the EU's trade agreements "as far as possible" and have them ready to go in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

So how much progress has been made?

11 out of 40

So far the UK has agreed "continuity" deals with 11 countries and regions. These are:

In addition, the UK has also announced a deal in principle with South Korea, which is "expected to be signed shortly".

Andean countries

Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are the countries covered by the Andean agreement, signed on 15 May. The UK government says the deal will replicate current trading arrangements "as far as possible".

Total trade (imports and exports) between the UK and the Andean countries was worth £2.1bn in 2018, according to the Department for International Trade.

Norway and Iceland

The agreement, signed on 2 April, maintains the same level of tariffs on goods traded between the UK, Iceland and Norway.

Total trade between the UK and Norway was worth £30bn in 2017, according to the Department for International Trade. For Iceland, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show total trade was worth £1.8bn in 2017.

The Department for International Trade says UK businesses will benefit from lower import prices, such as aluminium and some fuel and oil products.

Caribbean countries

The deal with the Caribbean states (known as the Cariforum) covers 12 countries, including Barbados and Jamaica, and was signed on 22 March.

A further two countries, the Bahamas and the Republic of Suriname, have agreed to the deal in principle and are "expected to sign shortly".

The deal eliminates all tariffs from the signing countries and allows businesses to trade as they currently do.

Exporters of rum, bananas and sugar cane are all expected to benefit from the arrangement.

Total trade between the UK and the region was worth around £2.5bn in 2017.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The UK bought 100% of Saint Lucia's banana exports in 2017.

Pacific Islands

The deal with the Pacific Islands - covering Fiji and Papua New Guinea - was signed on 14 March.

The UK says the deal will gradually remove around 80% of tariffs on UK exports to these countries and maintain access to goods, such as fish and sugar.

In 2017, total trade between the UK and the region was worth around £369m.

The government says other countries in the region will be allowed to request to join the UK-Pacific Agreement in the future.


The deal was formally signed on 18 February. It allows businesses to continue to trade as they do now after 29 March - without any additional tariffs or barriers.

The government says the agreement could save the UK vehicle industry up to £9m a year in tariff charges.

According to the ONS, total trade between the UK and Israel was worth £3.9bn in 2017.

Palestinian Authority

The UK-Palestinian Authority agreement was signed by Liam Fox and Abeer Odeh, Minister of National Economy in Ramallah on 18 February.

Total trade between the two was £25m in 2017, according to ONS figures.

The UK government says the deal will benefit Palestinian exporters of fruit, nuts and olive oil.


Under the UK-Switzerland agreement, which was confirmed in Bern on 11 February, tariffs will continue to be avoided on the vast majority of goods traded between the two countries.

Without the deal, the UK government says the motor industry could have faced up to £8m in tariff charges, while aluminium exporters could have faced up to £4m.

The Department for International Trade says that trade between the UK and Switzerland was worth £32.1bn in 2017 - accounting for about 2.5% of total UK trade.

An additional agreement was also signed in Bern by Liechtenstein's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Aurelia Frick. It applies the main parts of the Swiss-UK trade deal to her country too.

The Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands is the UK's 114th largest trading partner, according to the government. Total trade between the two countries was worth £236m in 2017.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The UK imported more than £200m worth of fish from the Faroe Islands in 2017

Fish and crustaceans made up the vast majority of UK's imports from the Faroes in 2017, worth £201.7m, while total UK exports to the country were worth only £6m - mostly machinery and mechanical appliances.

The UK government says that the agreement it has reached will mean consumers continue to benefit from greater choice and lower fish prices "such as Atlantic salmon, haddock and halibut".

Eastern and Southern Africa

Trade between the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region was worth £1.5bn in 2017 - about 0.1% of total UK trade. The UK-ESA deal covers Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe.

Meat and fish are the main goods imported from the region by the UK (£111m).


Signed at the end of January, the UK-Chile trade arrangement was the first to be done. Total trade between the UK and Chile was £1.8bn in 2017.

Fruit, nuts and drinks are the top goods imported by the UK. The government says the deal will help to protect parts of the UK's wine industry.

Mutual recognition agreements

The UK has also signed deals with the United States, Australia and New Zealand, but these are "mutual recognition agreements" and not free trade agreements.

The Australia and New Zealand deal replicates all aspects of the current EU agreements when it comes to recognising product standards, such as the labelling and certifying of wine.

The US agreement will, according to the Department for International Trade, particularly benefit the pharmaceutical sector which accounts for around £7.7bn of UK exports to the US - about 18% of the total.


So there's been some progress, but not yet enough.

"You can't simply roll over everything - these existing agreements will have references to EU law, so you cannot avoid some negotiation," says Alan Winters, director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at University of Sussex.

Some countries may also be apprehensive in signing deals right now, given that it is so unclear what Brexit will ultimately look like, adds Prof Winters.

So what could the consequences be if trade arrangements are not fully in place and the UK leaves the EU with no deal?

With the countries where the UK has no formal trade agreement, both would have to trade under the rules overseen by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Trade would not stop if this were to happen but some barriers would go up, says Alex Stojanovic, from the Institute for Government think tank.

"There is a reason you have trade agreements, it's that they give you better trade preferences than WTO terms.

"So some businesses will be harmed by tariffs coming into play," he says.

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