Trade Deals Around the World: December Edition


Trade Deals Around the World is our monthly recurring update, which gives you a quick and easy overview of what has been happening in the many trade deal negotiations going on around the world. 

A quick round-up of news on trade deals for the past month. 

The United Kingdom and Canada 

While the United Kingdom is still negotiating with the European Union on the Brexit Deal, it is signing other free trade agreements. We already wrote about earlier trade agreements the United Kingdom has been able to agree on in last month’s edition

The trade agreement the United Kingdom struck with Canada is a provisional one. Prime ministers Johnson and Trudeau agreed to roll over the current agreement that is in place between the two countries, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) temporarily. The agreement was only adjusted to make it specific to trade between Canada and the United Kingdom specifically. CBC reports: 

"Now we get to continue to work on a bespoke agreement, a comprehensive agreement, over the coming years that will really maximize our trade opportunities and boost things for everyone," Trudeau said.  

"Free trade is an important part of the way that we're going to bounce back from COVID, but I also think that Canada and the U.K. share a perspective about building back greener," said Johnson, who also took a moment to congratulate Trudeau for taking steps to get Canada to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

The Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement extends the elimination of tariffs on 98 per cent of goods exported between the two countries and sets the stage for negotiations toward a permanent and more ambitious deal in the new year. The deal could include "the potential to go further in areas like digital trade, the environment and women's economic empowerment," a release from the British government said. 

Read the full article here

The United Kingdom and Kenya 

Another trade agreement was struck between the United Kingdom and Kenya. The British Government announces: 

The UK has moved a step closer to signing a sixth trade deal in Africa today (3 November), as negotiations on a trade deal are finalised with Kenya. The agreement will ensure all companies operating in Kenya, including British businesses, can continue to benefit from duty-free access as they export products including vegetables and flowers to their customers back in the UK. 


  • The agreement will be formally signed shortly once it has been subject to checks. 
  • The deal itself is a translation of the terms previously agreed between the EU and the East African Community (EAC) and includes clauses to allow other East Africa Community states to join in the future. 
  • In under two years, the UK government has signed or agreed in principle trade agreements with 52 countries. Total UK trade with these countries was worth £146 billion in 2019. 

Read the full announcement here

The United Kingdom and Côte d'Ivoire 

Another trade agreement was struck between the United kingdom and Côte d'Ivoire. The British Government announces: 

HM Government has developed new bilateral agreements that replicate, as far as possible, the effects of the United Kingdom’s existing trade agreements with existing partners. These agreements form the starting point for the United Kingdom’s future trade agreements with partners. The United Kingdom-Côte d’Ivoire stepping stone Economic 

Partnership Agreement (“United Kingdom-Côte d’Ivoire EPA”) is intended to take effect when the EU-Côte d’Ivoire stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreement (“the existing EPA”) ceases to apply to the United Kingdom 

Please find a full report on the implications of the trade deal written by the British Government here

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership 

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, is the biggest regional free trade agreement in the world. The RCEP has 15 member states, including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.  

Bloomberg reports: 

A minimum of six Asean countries in addition to three non-Asean partners must ratify RCEP for it to come into force, Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing told reporters following the signing. Singapore plans to approve the deal “in the next few months,” he said. 

Supporters of the trade pact, which covers 2.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $26.2 trillion, said it will bolster pandemic-weakened economies by reducing tariffs, strengthening supply chains with common rules of origin, and codifying new e-commerce rules. 


Whether RCEP changes regional dynamics in favour of China depends on the U.S. response, experts said. The agreement underscores how U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2017 decision to withdraw from a different Asia Pacific trade pact -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP -- diminished America’s ability to offer a counterbalance to China’s growing regional economic influence. 


The agreement will make exports of participating countries more competitive and create an integrated market for China and regional nations, Singapore’s Chan said. 

Please find the complete article here

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