Trade Deals across the World: March Edition 2020

World Trade News (Image: teal world viewed from space with connection lines spreading across the image)

From a trade deal point of view, this is going to be a very interesting year. The main players in the negotiations for these trade deals are the United States and the United Kingdom, both of which have new trade deals to negotiate with the European Union. 

The United Kingdom and the EU

Negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have started. In two blog posts last month we talked about the positions both the EU and the UK are taking, and what this might mean for 2020 and beyond. Both parties seem to have sharpened their knives, and it is going to be tough to have a deal before the end of this year, which is what Boris Johnson has been adamant about.

To stay updated on the negotiations and other important Brexit news, keep an eye on our Brexit site.

The EU has over 50 free trade agreements. By leaving the EU, the United Kingdom has also left these 50 agreements. These all need to be re-negotiated. Many of those negotiations have also started, or are about to start.

The United Kingdom and Japan

The top diplomats of Japan and Britain agreed Saturday to work quickly toward a bilateral trade deal that will be “at least as ambitious” as Japan’s agreement with the European Union.

Read the full story here.

The United Kingdom and Australia

Australia is ready to begin talks on an "ambitious" free trade deal with Britain "as soon as possible", the foreign secretary has said.

Much has been made of the prospect of a deal with the US, but Australia is another country that is often mentioned among the most likely candidates for an early breakthrough.

Mr Raab emphasised this after talks with Australian foreign minister Marise Payne in the capital, Canberra.

Read the full story here

The United Kingdom and the United States

Britain takes U.S. concerns about its use of Huawei equipment seriously but is confident a trade deal with the United States will be among its first after leaving the European Union, its foreign secretary said on Monday.

Read the full story here

The United Kingdom and Israel

PM Netanyahu and Economy Minister Eli Cohen appealed to the British government to include Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem in the free trade agreement between the two countries, which will come into effect with the completion of Brexit – Britain's withdrawal from the European Union – in 2021.

The draft trade deal, drawn long before London finalized Brexit, states that the new bilateral agreement would include the same terms as the free trade agreement between Israel and the EU. But the latter excludes Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights from the agreement, and Israel is seeking to correct the situation.

Read the full story here.

The United Kingdom and Turkey

As the U.K. counts as one of Turkey's top trading partners, finalizing a free trade deal is highly expected to be a priority for the two countries in the period ahead. Turkey announced Saturday it was seeking new trade channels with the U.K. during the Brexit transition period.

"During this period, the U.K. will be treated as an EU member country in terms of trade, thereby maintaining its position as a customs union partner for our country within the same period," a Trade Ministry statement said.

It added that during the transition period, a new trade agreement would be negotiated between the U.K. and EU to shape future relations. The ministry said Turkey would open talks with the U.K. for a bilateral free trade deal through existing structures.

Read the full story here.

The United Kingdom and Brazil

The Brazilian government will seek to strike a Mercosul-United Kingdom trade deal post Brexit that could be similar to the trade agreement signed between the South American bloc and the European Union, a Brazilian official said on Friday.

Brazil's Foreign Trade Secretary Marcos Troyjo said Brazil is very interested in a trade deal with the UK, and plans to push for a broad agreement.

Read the full story here.

The European Union and Canada

The EU has signed a free trade agreement with Canada, but this deal now needs to be ratified by all EU member states. The agreement was almost voted down in Dutch parliament last month and it’s still uncertain if it will be ratified by the Dutch senate.

...lawmakers in the lower house of Dutch parliament approved a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada.

Dutch Overseas Trade Minister Sigrid Kaag, who was in parliament to watch the vote, smiled after 72 lawmakers voted for the deal and 69 against.

The Dutch Senate still must approve the pact and Rutte's coalition does not have a majority. The Senate is expected to debate the measure next month.

Rejection by the Netherlands would throw into doubt the future of the pact, formally called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA. Most of the deal has been provisionally in force since 2017, but it must be ratified by all EU parliaments before fully entering into effect.

Read the full story here.

The European Union and Vietnam

European lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved free trade and investment deals between the EU and Vietnam that will eliminate almost all tariffs over the next ten years, despite concerns about the human rights situation in the country.

After an influential parliamentary trade committee recommended last month that the agreements should be adopted, lawmakers agreed to back the trade deal on Wednesday by 401 votes to 192, with 40 abstentions. The investment protection deal providing a dispute settlement system was endorsed by 407 lawmakers.

Read the full story here.

The United States and China

Two new items about the first phase trade deal between the United States and China that we already wrote about in last month’s Trade Deals Across the World:

Read about that here: China seeks U.S. flexibility on some promises in the Phase 1 trade deal: Bloomberg reporter

And here: Coronavirus: China ‘fully expected’ to meet trade deal terms despite Covid-19 outbreak, top US officials say

More news on the trade agreements Trump is working on:

U.S. Announces Intent to Start Talks on Kenya Trade Agreement

Trump expresses optimism about eventual US-India trade deal

Other Free Trade Agreements in the News

Morocco’s Industry Minister: Turkey Approved to Amend Free Trade Agreement

Australia, Indonesia ratify trade agreement