UK targets Australia free trade deal next as Swiss financial services talks start

Thu 28 Jan 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

Having secured a trade deal with Japan in September, the UK is targeting Australia as the next Asia-Pacific agreement to sign – potentially as soon as March.

MSN reported that a UK deal with Australia would be “as an important step on the way to joining a wider free trade agreement known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)”.

The CPTPP is a free trade bloc covering nearly 14% of the global economy. Membership removes payment of most tariffs between 11 countries including Canada, Australia, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Reuters reports that the next round of negotiations for an Australia-UK trade agreement are to begin in February, with City AM reporting that a deal could be finished by March. 

On a Swiss roll

City AM also reports that the UK has commenced talks with Switzerland over a deal in financial services, covering trade in insurance, banking, asset management and capital markets.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has himself started the negotiations with Switzerland.

“The UK and Switzerland are both global financial centres, with a shared commitment to high standards of regulation, market integrity and investor protection,” Sunak said.

“Our ambition is to deliver one of the most comprehensive agreements of its kind in financial services as part of our plan to seize new opportunities in the global economy now we have left the EU.”

The hope is that a deal on financial services between the UK and Switzerland would lead to UK agreements with other financial markets on cross-border trade.