The Department for International Trade (DIT) announced that in a speech to business and civil society leaders hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses on 18 July 2018, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox announced 4 public consultations ahead of post-Brexit trade negotiations.

The consultations demonstrate the UK’s intention to seek free trade agreements with the US, Australia and New Zealand. The US is the UK’s single largest trading partner, accounting for £100 billion of UK annual exports and supporting millions of UK jobs. UK exports to Australia and New Zealand, two of the UK’s closest allies, are growing at 14.8% and 16.8% respectively, a faster pace than the UK’s global average and far outstripping export growth to the EU. The UK is also potentially seeking accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). If the UK were to join CPTPP, it would be the second largest economy in the group, and CPTPP’s coverage of global GDP would increase to around 17%.

The consultations, which will be released to the public shortly, will cover these prospective new trade agreements signalling the UK’s immediate negotiating priorities as soon as it leaves the EU, in line with the terms of the draft Withdrawal Agreement and in light of the government’s White Paper on the future relationship between the UK and EU.