Customs and Trade News - June 2022

The latest progress of FTA negotiations with India and Mexico, joint economic and trade committee held with Vietnam and scrutiny on the Australia FTA.

India 

The Department for International Trade has issued a joint outcome statement confirming the UK and India have concluded the third round of negotiations for a free trade agreement. The next round is scheduled to begin in June. Seafish has been gathering feedback from stakeholders who import seafood from India. The main issues that have been highlighted are frequent changes to the health certificates and SPS testing. We have also spoken with stakeholders exporting seafood to India and the main barrier mentioned was cold store facilities for perishables. Should you wish to discuss these points or contribute to the feedback, please find contact details below.   

Vietnam

A news story has been published as the UK and Vietnam hold their first Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) in three years. The UK signed a free trade agreement with Vietnam in 2020 and trade has increased between the two countries by almost 11% since. Vietnam is a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which the UK remains on track to join by the end of this year.

In 2020 the UK exported £7.769 million worth of seafood to Vietnam and imported £251.2 million.

Mexico

The Department for International Trade has released the UK’s strategic approach to negotiating a free trade agreement with Mexico. The first official round of negotiations will take place in Mexico City this July, and a second round in the autumn. The ambition is to conclude negotiations for a new Free Trade Agreement within two years, as agreed in the UK-Mexico Trade Continuity Agreement.

Australia 

The UK signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia at the end of 2021. Prior to ratification, the FTA will be formally laid before Parliament. This is to consider whether measures in this FTA applicable to trade in agricultural product, are consistent with the maintenance of UK levels of statutory protection in relation to the following areas: 

  • human, animal or plant life or health 
  • animal welfare 
  • the environment 

“Our country has world-class standards which we are committed to maintaining… It confirms that this agreement is consistent with maintaining our domestic regulatory standards, supported by the advice of the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission, the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland.” 

Further information

We welcome comments and feedback from the seafood industry, so your issues are understood and fed into the FTA negotiations. Should you wish to email or arrange a meeting, please contact christina.fallah@seafish.co.uk in the Regulation Team.