Bloomberg | 15 December 2020
UK signs continuity trade deal with Mexico, keeps EU benefits
By Joe Mayes
The U.K. signed a continuity trade deal with Mexico, its 31st-largest trading partner, preserving the benefits of the accord it had with the country through European Union membership.
The deal follows similar roll-over agreements with countries such as Canada, Singapore and Vietnam, as Britain seeks to maintain the tariff-free trade it enjoyed as part of the EU. It has now signed deals with 58 countries, covering about 15% of its total trade.
Intense talks on a post-Brexit free-trade agreement with the EU — which accounts for half of U.K. trade — are ongoing, as are discussions with the U.S., Britain’s largest single-country trading partner. Striking deals is a top priority for the British government, as it seeks to prove the benefits of having an independent trade policy outside the EU.
The U.K. and Mexico will start talks in 2021 on an improved trade agreement which will go “much further” than the current deal, the U.K.’s Department for International Trade said in a statement.
That will “allow our two countries to go much further in areas such as data, digital trade, investment, intellectual property and services,” International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said.
The U.K. is also hoping to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a group of 11 countries including Australia, Chile and Japan. The U.K.-Mexico continuity deal is the seventh agreement Britain has struck with a member of CPTPP.
“It’s another really important stepping stone toward the U.K. joining CPTPP,” Truss said of the Mexico agreement. “I look forward to making our application to do just that early next year.”