Continuity in UK trade talks likely under Truss as Australia deal has second hearing in parliament

Tue 6 Sept 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett, William Barns-Graham
Trade News

UK trade deal round up - Global Britain

A new era is about to begin in British government as Liz Truss enters No 10 Downing Street.

With Truss having served as international trade secretary under her PM predecessor Boris Johnson  until September 2021 when she became foreign secretary  continuity in the government's approach to trade deal negotiations is thought likely. 

While trade secretary, Truss launched several talks that are still ongoing, including the UK's bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

At the time of today's Daily Update publication (6 September), the Truss cabinet had not yet been announced and national media is speculating on who will be appointed international trade secretary. The incumbent is Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

The IOE&IT Daily Update here looks at the latest state of play in the UK’s current major trade negotiations.

Australia – 'no block to deal'

Trevelyan yesterday said that she and Truss would ensure that the trade deal between the UK and Australia will not be blocked in parliament.

“She started it and I finished it off so between her and me we’ll fight anyone who wants to slow it down,” Trevelyan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

As reported by Sky News, Australian PM Anthony Albanese welcomed Truss’ appointment as prime minister, having previously met during her stint as trade secretary, when she visited the country on multiple occasions to secure the UK-Australia agreement.

The bill that implements both the Australian and New Zealand trade deals with the UK, the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill, is facing scrutiny later today as it faces its second reading in the House of Commons.

India deal by Diwali

According to the Financial Express, Truss is expected to continue to push for a trade deal with India, with most negotiations having been concluded and both parties equally keen to sign off on the agreement later this year.

Outgoing PM Boris Johnson had pledged to reach an agreement with India by Diwali in October of this year.

According to the Hindustan Times, Indian commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said: “The UK FTA is very much on track … the Diwali deadline is not going to be missed.”

CPTPP - where are we at?

As reported by the IOE&IT Daily Update yesterday (5 September), Truss promised to make UK accession to the CPTPP a “top priority” for her administration going forward.

The International Trade Committee, a House of Commons scrutiny body, has said they will “explore the benefits of UK membership” of the CPTPP from 10am tomorrow.

GCC talks to continue

Negotiations for a trade deal between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are likely to continue.

As previously covered by the IOE&IT's Daily Update, the government launched negotiations with the GCC for a free trade agreement that could be worth an extra £1.6 billion a year to the UK economy.

The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Sachin Kerur, head of the Middle East unit of international law firm Reed Smith, told Arabian Business: “in a post-Brexit and Covid world, the UK is embarking on an internationalist agenda across a range of policies and sectors, by all accounts that will not be rolled back under the new Truss administration.”

FTA in force

The Express reports that the UK free trade agreement with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, signed 8 July 2021, will come into force today.

The agreement builds on the existing agreements for trade in goods with Iceland and Norway, as well as setting out “new arrangements” on digital trade and services between the UK and the three other countries.

State-wide deals in the US

The UK signed a state-level agreement with the US state of Indiana earlier this year in May – following it up with a deal with North Carolina in July.

Trevelyan has said previously she anticipated the UK would strike half-a-dozen pacts before the end of the year.

In late-July, Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin also stated he hoped that his state could sign a memorandum of understanding with the UK.