Britain hedging its bets . . .
Britain’s international trade secretary Liam Fox and South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee have signed the U.K.’s first post-Brexit trade deal with an Asian economy. The outline free trade agreement, meant to be an ‘agreement in principle’ to sign a separate free trade deal, closely mirrors clauses within the existing Korea-EU free trade agreement. The U.K. is part of 40 EU trade deals, but will lose access to these agreements upon leaving the bloc. The U.K. is also unable to officially negotiate new trade deals until it leaves the EU. As a result, the U.K. has been signing a number of ‘continuity deals’ in anticipation of Brexit.
From the Han to the Thames . . .
The key element of this latest agreement is ensuring certain South Korean exports, such as auto parts and automobiles, remain tariff free. The South Korean trade ministry will seek approval from its parliament with the aim of ratifying the trade pact with Britain before October 31, the tentative date of Brexit.
A very Canadian strategy . . .
In a post-Brexit world, the EU would remain the U.K.’s most important trading partner, but Britain will have to diversify its trade. Japan will likely be next on the list of Asian countries with a ‘continuity deal’ with the U.K., a deal that would replicate the EU and Japan Economic Partnership Agreement that came into force in February. The U.K.’s efforts parallel Canada’s own trade diversification strategy beyond the U.S. market. In pursuit of that agenda, Canada’s Minister of Trade Diversification Jim Carr is currently visiting several Asia economies to promote Canadian goods, most notably canola and pork.