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Brexit latest: Existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Published on: 28 February 2019


The UK Government has produced its latest guidance to ensure the continuity of trade agreements if an agreement with the EU has not been ratified and brought into force in time for exit day.

These agreements cover a wide variety of relationships including:

  • Free trade agreements (FTAs)
  • Economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with developing nations
  • Association agreements - these cover broader economic and political co-operation
  • Trade agreements with countries that are closely aligned with the EU
  • Mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) - parties mutually recognise conformity assessment procedures

Businesses in the UK and partner countries are eligible for a range of preferential market access opportunities under the terms of these agreements. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Preferential duties for goods, including reductions in import tariff rates and quotas for reduced or nil rates of payable duties
  • Quotas for the import of goods with more relaxed rules of origin requirements
  • Enhanced market access for service providers
  • Protection from discrimination in public procurement opportunities across a range of sectors
  • Allowing parties to mutually recognise conformity assessment procedures
  • The ability to complete mandatory inspections and tests on products close to the place of production
  • Common standards on intellectual property

In the event of a ‘no deal’, EU trade agreements will cease to apply to the UK when we leave the EU. Without arrangements to maintain preferences, trade will take place on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.

British Marine members can gain access to a wide range of Brexit updates, advice and guidance on the British Marine Website, including our dedicated report on the impact on the UK Leisure & Small Commercial Marine industry of transitioning to WTO tariffs post-Brexit.