State Of Play Trade Agreements

April 13, 2021

All important agreements, with the exception of Turkey, have already been concluded, while others are at different stages of preparation. Agreements have been concluded with Japan, Canada, Mexico and Vietnam, as well as with the three non-EEA countries, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein (the trilateral agreement with Switzerland), which will come into force on 1 January 2021. Negotiations are ongoing with several other countries, such as Albania and Ghana. However, the UK is also in talks with Turkey, given that Turkey is in a customs union with the EU (like San Marino and Andorra), relations are influenced by the form of the free trade agreement between the UK and the EU and could only be concluded after agreement. The EU has trade agreements with these countries/regions, but both sides are now negotiating an update. In some circumstances, trade negotiations with a trading partner have been concluded, but have not yet been signed or ratified. This means that, although the negotiations are over, no part of the agreement is yet in force. The EU will not change its aggressive approach to intellectual property protection in bilateral trade agreements, as evidenced by updates from the European Commission at a meeting with civil society on 27 June 2011. Despite years of opposition and outrage from the global public health community, the EU continues to follow high IP standards for trade agreements with developing countries. Representatives of DG Commerce said that the EU will pursue ambitious IP standards in the ongoing negotiations on free trade agreements with India and Mercosur. Some of these agreements have already been concluded and others are being prepared.

Regarding the agreements with Japan, Canada and Vietnam, as well as the three non-EEA countries, Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein (i.e. a trilateral agreement with Switzerland), which will come into force on 1 January 2021. Negotiations are ongoing with several other countries, such as Mexico and Ghana. However, the UK is also in talks with Turkey, given that Turkey is in a customs union with the EU (like San Marino and Andorra), relations are influenced by the form of the free trade agreement between the UK and the EU and could only be concluded after agreement. Here is a full list of UK agreements (updated from time to time). Negotiations with the parties will continue to find common ground on sensitive issues, such as the equal conditions of competition and fisheries provisions. We have already blogged about the differences between the two draft treaties. Last Friday, the UK and the EU concluded the fourth round of negotiations on the future trade and partnership agreement. In addition to India and Mercosur, the EU is currently negotiating a trade agreement with Ukraine, where the need for medicines to treat HIV/AIDS is not covered at this time. Aggressive intellectual property protection introduced by the EU-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement could further restrict access to affordable DEV SERVICES and thwart any move to slow the spread of this deadly disease.

As an EU member state, the UK was automatically part of a series of free trade agreements with third countries that will no longer apply to the UK when the transitional period of 31 December 2020 expires. In order to preserve existing trade relations with these countries and to mitigate the expected disruption of trade when such agreements expire, the United Kingdom has negotiated and concluded numerous independent bilateral free trade agreements. The UK government is also preparing for a “non-deal” outcome of trade negotiations, but less “open” than the European Commission (see our previous update here). Penny Mordaunt, head of the House of Commons, said this week that it would be “smart and smart for us to prepare for all scenarios.”