The concept of Global Britain was formulated in the early months following the 2016 referendum on the UK’s decision to exit the EU. Theresa May and her teams have been using it as an umbrella term for the country’s aspirations to strengthen its global (and European) influence once separated from the 27 member states. In terms of trade, this strategy involves the signing of as many international agreements as possible, both bilateral and multilateral, in a quicker and more flexible way than within the 28-nation negotiations (known to take many years). In April 2019, the Strategic Trade Advisory Group was created in this respect. It is a platform for the government to engage with the UK’s global trade stakeholders in developing its strategy.
Figure 1 – Map of trade agreements already signed by post-Brexit UK. Source: Skynews, 2021
Completed trade agreements
First, the UK has been working in parallel with its negotiations with the EU to replicate trade agreements that it enjoyed within the EU framework, so as to ensure the continuity of relevant trade flows. These agreements are either fully effective or are subject to provisional application or offset mechanisms. There are more than sixty of them, covering various countries and regions of the world.
Trade agreement with Japan (CEPA)
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