The first cycles were expected to focus on regulatory standards and fisheries.   It is assumed that if these points are not agreed by the end of June, both sides will interrupt negotiations so as not to focus on an agreement.  On 23 October, the UK government signed a new trade agreement with Japan, which means that 99% of UK exports will be tariff-free. Another round of negotiations, which ended on 23 July, was again deemed unsuccessful by both sides, with the prospect of “not reaching an agreement” being considered less likely, but not inevitable.  So, 12 weeks before the end of the transition, how is the government doing? The UK has signed 20 agreements covering 50 countries or territories. These include agreements with Israel, South Korea, the countries of the Southern African Customs Union, Morocco and an agreement in principle with Japan. Businesses that trade with these countries will therefore continue to enjoy preferential access after 1 January 2021. The European Union`s free trade agreement contributes to EU growth: in 2018, the EU was the world`s second largest exporter (15.5%) before the United States (10.6%) China (15.8%).  The United Kingdom is awaiting an agreement on the Canadian model, while the EU considers the proximity and size of its trade, which subordinates the Canadian-style trade agreement to the UK`s adoption of a “level playing field”.  As we prepare for the next rounds of negotiations, I would like to reiterate the government`s position on the transition period established after we leave the EU. The transition will end on December 31 of this year.
We will not ask to extend it. If the EU asks for it, we will say no. An extension would simply prolong the negotiations, create even more uncertainty, pay us more in the future to the EU and keep us bound by European laws under development at a time when we have to control our own affairs. In short, it is not in the UK`s interest to expand. Talks between the EU and the UK are under way to reach a post-Brexit free trade agreement before the end of the year. Any existing EU agreement, which will not be rushed, will end on 31 December and future trade will take place on WTO terms until an agreement is reached. During the transitional period, the United Kingdom committed to complying with these agreements in the withdrawal agreement (i.e. by granting preferential access to these 72 partner countries). For their part, these 72 countries voluntarily agreed to grant equivalent preferential access to the United Kingdom during the transitional period. However, after 31 December 2020, the EU free trade agreements will no longer apply to the UK. That is why the UK Government has committed to repeating as precisely as possible the effects of existing EU agreements in order to avoid pitfalls for businesses and consumers. While a member of the EU, the UK was automatically part of some 40 trade agreements that the EU has concluded with more than 70 countries.