With not only 70 days left for Brexit, the UK has yet not finalized any trade deals that will replace existing EU’s 40 agreements with most of the developed economies and might not be able to set trade deals when Brexit occurs on March 29, as per Whitehall memorandum. After Theresa May invoked Article 50 to trigger the Brexit process, Mr. Fox, International Trade Secretary, said that Britain is going to copy the existing 40 EU free trade agreements that exist before Britain leaves EU bloc.
If UK is leaving EU without any formal trade agreement with the bloc at the time of divorce, all EU existing trade deals will lapse immediately without any transition period by the midnight of 29th March 2018. International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, had taken an oath to replicate the EU’s existing trade agreement, and many of other Brexiters also suggested for the same because they could be easily replicated.
Post the defeat of Theresa May’s deal at the House of Commons, many EU bloc nations refused to reopen negotiations with the UK, and they are raising questions on May’s ability, as she was not able to convince the House of UK for her deal even after two years of negotiations. As May has been preparing on Plan B Brexit deal to be presented in front of the house, many EU bloc leaders are speculating that it seems to very tough for May to get backing for her plan B as well and Britain will leave EU without a deal on 29th March.
In November, George Hollingbery, the trade minister, told Westminster MPs that UK would replicate the majority of EU’s existing 40 agreements in time for no-deal Brexit. Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce, Adam Marshall, has shown worries that the Department of International Trade (DIT) was not open enough on the status of trade agreements.
Marshal also added that this is not an easy task as negotiations are complex and sensitive, but businesses want assurance that progress is being made to fix the trade terms which they are currently enjoying in many other countries around the globe.
Lately, Trade Remedies Authorities (TRA) Chief Executive Designate, Claire Bassett informed the International Trade Committee on the progress that will ensure that TRA is ready for Brexit. Department of International Trade has told that they have already recruited 70% of the future TRA’s staff, with more than 90 now aboard, and one-third of those have now completed their initial training and are equipped with the required accounting, economic skills and legal knowledge that is the prerequisite to conduct trade remedies investigations. He also added, Britain’s trade system will be compliant with WTO rules, including provisions on a calculation of dumping and injury and to conduct trade investigations.
The new website of TRA will be launched shortly, which will enable people to submit evidence and application as a part of the review and investigation process. The new website will be ready for launch by the time Brexit occurs, which is now going through user and development testing, said Claire Basset.
The TRA will be a significant part of Britain’s new independent trade policy, as they are planning to take control of their trade agenda for the first time in the last 40 years. New TRA will be able to trigger new measures for protecting the interest of domestic industries.
All eyes are now set on Plan B which is expected to be released soon.
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