Trade Deals Around the World: December Edition

December 2021

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 European Union and the United Kingdom

The waters between the European Union and the United Kingdom are still troubled. The biggest reasons are the fishing row between France and the United Kingdom and the dispute on the trade of goods in Northern Ireland.

The U.K. government said after unsuccessful talks between its negotiator David Frost and his counterpart Maros Sefcovic that the EU offers to revamp the Northern Ireland deal, which the 27-nation bloc saw as far-reaching and unprecedented, “did not currently deal effectively with the fundamental difficulties.”

Beyond rejecting his proposals, Sefcovic retorted that “we have seen no move at all from the U.K. side. I find this disappointing.”

On top of the dispute over how to smooth the trade in goods in the U.K.’s Northern Ireland, where the complicated Brexit deal has left the region also in the EU’s single trading zone, both sides also made no progress in negotiations over symbolically important U.K. fishing licenses off France. Source: AP News

The prospect of a trade war between the UK and the EU has edged closer, with Ireland giving the clearest hint yet that Brussels plans to suspend the entire trade deal struck last December if the British government suspends the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol.

The EU would have to serve the UK with 12 months’ notice, but it would have a devastating impact on British business, industry leaders warned. Shane Brennan, head of the Cold Chain Federation, said businesses would be “sacrificed” with “a near prohibition on UK food exports”. Source: The Guardian

Another interesting article was published by the Global Trade Review about the impact of Brexit on the UK’s trade volumes.

The terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) caused UK exports to the EU to fall by 14% and trade in the opposite direction to fall by almost a quarter in the first seven months of its enforcement – or an estimated combined blow to the UK economy of around £44bn, according to a report out today by the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO). Source: Global Trade Review

The European Union and New Zealand

France is also playing a significant role in negotiating a trade deal between the European Union and New Zealand.

France has persuaded the European Union to slow trade negotiations with New Zealand until after its presidential election in April next year.

Trade deals between the European Union and other nations are conducted mainly by the European Commission, a body of the EU.

France opposed trade talks with the European Commission, which agreed to postpone signing the agreements until April. Source: NZ Herald

The European Union and the United States

Good news on the trading relationship between the European Union and the United States.

President Joe Biden announced at the G-20 summit on Sunday that the U.S. had reached a deal to roll back tariffs on billions of dollars of European steel and aluminium, easing a trade war that had strained the trans-Atlantic relationship since the Trump administration. Source: NBC News

The United Kingdom and Israel, and Australia

Britain and Israel will sign a 10-year trade and defence pact in London … promising cooperation on issues such as cybersecurity and a joint commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Source: The Guardian

Australia and the U.K. are both “very confident” that their free trade agreement would be finalized by year-end, said David McCredie, chief executive officer of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce. Source: The Guardian

The United Kingdom Global Digital Trade

Improving digital trade would provide huge opportunities for British businesses and help boost economic growth, the government's Board of Trade said, setting out how it aims to become a world leader in modern services and online goods.

In a report on digital trade to be published on Friday, the board, headed by trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said the government should look to strike digital trade deals and help shape global trade rules suitable for the modern world. Source: Reuters

The United States

Other News on Trade Deals