Last week, former Trade Minister Mark Price tweeted that all non-EU countries “agreed to reverse their EU agreements with the UK.” Asked about this comment at a committee hearing on 1 November, Trade Minister Liam Fox acknowledged that “it is not so easy to return them” and acknowledged that the government did not have a binding agreement on either agreement. He said all countries have expressed their intention to “continue where we are.” But could the negotiations be more difficult than what Fox is proposing? In addition to the bilateral technical cooperation of the Member States, EFTA offers technical cooperation to help our partner countries harmonize their legislative framework and implement the rules in place to facilitate trade. This assistance is provided under the EEA agreement and existing free trade agreements. In some cases, EFTA also offers potential free trade partners. The European Union and Japan have signed the Economic Partnership Agreement, a comprehensive trade agreement including goods, services and investment, which eliminates tariffs, non-tariff barriers and other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition and sustainable development. In accordance with the ECJ guidelines, the EU is now designing free trade agreements to remain within the exclusive competence of the EU. Therefore, areas such as investor-state dispute settlement and portfolio investments must be negotiated in the case of separate agreements. This clear division of the domains into different agreements makes it possible for European legislators to ratify and enforce free trade agreements quickly and reliably. However, such a separation is not possible if trade agreements are an integral part of political association agreements (for example. B with Ukraine, Mexico, Mercosur, etc.).
These contracts remain mixed, if only because of the foreign and security policy components (the EU negotiations with Mercosur are based on a 20-year term and do not involve the settlement of investor-state disputes). In January 2018, the government said it had worked with 70 countries covered by more than 40 EU international trade agreements and had received a positive response to its goal of ensuring the continuity of these trade relations. In 2015, countries with trade agreements with the EU accounted for more than 15% of all UK imports and exports. Without the agreements, the United Kingdom would be pushed to put in place the conditions of the World Trade Organization with these countries. British exporters would face costly tariff increases and, in some cases, tighter tariff controls, with average tariffs ranging from 5% (Israel) to almost 30% (Egypt). The United Kingdom should also impose tariffs and raise consumer prices. Britain would lose deeper access to services as it would no longer participate in the 14 EU service agreements, including the trade agreement with South Korea. One study showed that eu trade agreements implemented during the 1993-2013 period “reduced quality-adjusted prices by almost 7%.”  Modern EU free trade agreements aim to do more than reduce tariffs. In addition, they aim to improve market access by removing non-tariff barriers (for example.
B, regulatory cooperation), liberalizing trade in services and opening markets to public procurement.