Trade Deals Around the World: August Edition

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

Trade Deals Around the World is our periodic update, which gives you a quick and easy overview of what has been happening in the many trade deal negotiations worldwide.

We focus on the European Union and the United Kingdom and watch China and the United States. 

The United Kingdom and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein 

It is clearly summertime, and there is considerably less happening when it comes to trade deals. One country is not taking a break for summer, and that is the United Kingdom. After leaving the European Union, they need to renegotiate all trade agreements they were part of as an EU member state.

An article on says: 

It is the most advanced trade deal that Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have ever signed, with gold standard provisions in digital trade, mobile roaming, and business travel. It will slash tariffs and offer new duty-free quotas on exports of high-quality British food and farm products and support jobs in every corner of our country.  

The United Kingdom and the European Union 

The waters between the United Kingdom and the European Union are still not clear. One of the areas where there is still a disagreement is agri-food moving between Brittain and Northern Ireland. Reuters reports: 

On Tuesday, the European Union urged London to consider a Swiss-style veterinary agreement with Brussels on agri-foods to end a post-Brexit 'sausage war' row over certain goods moving between Britain and its province of Northern Ireland. 

Tension has mounted over trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, particularly for chilled meats. The province's open border with EU member Ireland is Britain's only land frontier with the EU and its vast single market. 

China and the United States 

The waters between China and the United States are also still far from clear. While there is a first phase agreement between the two countries, China is still struggling to keep up its end of the agreement. CNBC reports: of June, both Chinese and U.S. government data indicated that China had bought less than 70% of the year-to-date target, according to estimates from Peterson Institute senior fellow Chad P. Bown. 

Agriculture purchases again came the closest to meeting agreement levels, at 90% of the target, according to U.S. data that Bown cited. 

The waters are also being muddied by the United States’ steps to reach a digital trade deal in the Asia region. Bloomberg reports: 

White House officials are discussing proposals for a digital trade agreement covering Indo-Pacific economies as the administration seeks ways to check China’s influence in the region, according to people familiar with the plans. 

It is not only the deal but also a warning it issued to US businesses in Hong Kong. According to another article on Bloomberg: 

Chinese state media including the China Daily newspaper dismissed a possible U.S.-led digital trade agreement as a bid to defend American power in the Asia-Pacific region. Separately, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced a planned White House warning to American businesses in Hong Kong as an effort to mislead companies and malign the national security law that Beijing imposed on the Asian financial center last year.

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