Fourth anniversary of Brexit vote marked by trade deal optimism – five global trade stories today

Tue 23 Jun 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

As we do early each morning, the content team at the Institute of Export & International Trade has today rummaged through the national news headlines to find key stories relevant to global trade.

We do this to give a wider perspective on how international trade is covered and perceived in the wider press, so that you don’t have to.

Below are five stories from this morning’s papers that caught our attention.

1. Trade deal optimism

Today (23 June) marks the four-year anniversary of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

There is optimism that compromises can be made towards agreeing a trade deal before the transition ends on 31 December 2020, the FT yesterday reported.

“Diplomats confirm that there has been a shift in mood following the British prime minister’s virtual summit last week with EU chiefs,” the report says. 

If a deal is not reached, the EU will not replicate the UK’s phased introduction of border controls for UK goods moving onto the continent, reports Lloyds Loading List.

2. Japan rushes UK

As an independent trading nation, the UK is now able to negotiate its own trade deals with other nations.

Talks with Japan began earlier this month but will need to be concluded quickly, report the Telegraph.

Japan is giving the UK just six weeks to complete a deal because it wants continuity between the current EU terms for trade and those of the future UK-Japan deal.  

“While meeting the timetable would hand Mr Johnson an early trade victory, it also highlights the risk of the UK being bounced into bad deals before the Brexit transition expires at the end of the year,”  say the FT.

3. EU-China talks

Talks for a new investment and trade deal between the EU and China are lagging, reports the New York Times.

The paper says China is tightening control over its domestic economy as a response to the coronavirus outbreak, while protests in Hong Kong have also soured its relations with Western nations. The EU is seeking greater market access in the talks.

“We continue to have an unbalanced trade and investment relationship,’’ said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“We need to follow up on these commitments urgently and we also need to have more ambition on the Chinese side in order to conclude negotiations on an investment agreement.”

4. Beijing outbreak

Health and hygiene standards for meat and fish coming into China are coming under scrutiny, with Loadstar reporting the latest coronavirus outbreak in Beijing may have been caused by overseas imports.

Reuters reports that a Brazilian beef exporter and a UK port plant have already halted exports to China following the latest outbreak.

5. Fox in the WTO leadership ring?

After Peter Mandelson threw his hat into the ring for contention to become the new WTO leader last week, another UK contender has emerged.

The Times reports that ministers are considering nominating previous trade minister Dr Liam Fox as Britain’s candidate for the position.

Brazilian former diplomat Roberto Azevedo will be standing down the role at the end of his current term on 31 August 2020.