The UK’s free trade agreements – January to March 2024 | Seafish

The UK’s free trade agreements – January to March 2024

This edition of our quarterly blog will cover the first 3 months of 2024.

Our update aims to provide seafood businesses with information on the government’s negotiation progress, as well as relevant changes which have taken place over the last three months.

Does the UK have free trade agreements since leaving the EU?

You can see the list of free trade agreements (FTA) in force on the government's website. Most of these agreements were “rolled over” from when the UK was part of the EU, these were put in place to allow the UK to continue trading with the given country.

Australia and New Zealand are new free trade agreements which were negotiated by the UK independently.

What is the progress with negotiations?

The table below shows which stage we are on for new free trade agreements.

Free Trade Agreement Progress





































South Korea
















The negotiations for a free trade agreement between the UK and India began in January 2022. Talks entered the 14th round this January however the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) stated in a recent update that this was now on hold until after the Indian elections, which are taking place between April and May. Negotiations are expected to resume again later this year.


The CPTPP free trade agreement was signed in July 2023. The 11 original signatories are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Before the UK can join the trading block, each member country needs to go through the ratification process. If 15 months has passed since the signature of the protocol, the FTA will come into force 60 days after 6 of the parties have completed their ratification process, but only for the parties who have ratified.

So far accession into the CPTPP has received Royal Assent in the UK, a significant stage in the ratification process. It has also been ratified in Japan and Singapore.


It was reported in the media that the free trade agreement negotiations with Canada has collapsed. The information on how this will affect traders was not clear. Seafish have clarified with DBT that the pause in negotiations does not impact our existing (rolled over) trade agreement with Canada, meaning those using the free trade agreement can continue.

As part of the “rolled over” free trade agreement, there was a provision put in under the rules of origin. This provision allowed traders to count EU inputs as part of their products and still meet the rules of origin, however this expired on 1 April 2024. As an extension was not renegotiated, it means if you are using EU inputs in your products, you can no longer use the free trade agreement preferential rates.


The GCC negotiations entered their 6th round in January. Seafish conducted some research to give to the DBT negotiation teams. We would like to thank the survey respondents for the feedback of their trading experience with the GCC countries. This allowed us to tell DBT of the possible opportunities and threats associated with a free trade agreement, as well as report a number of barriers when trading with the GCC.

 If you would like to contribute to future free trade agreement work, please email us for more information.


On 29 February 2024, the UK government put in place formal protection for geographical indications in Japan.

A protected geographical indication is a designation used on products that have qualities attributable to a specific origin. A well known example is Champagne, which must be produced in the Champagne wine region of France. Some British seafood examples of PGI’s are Arbroath Smokies, Conwy Mussels, London Cure Smoked Salmon and Traditional Grimsby Smoked Fish. Protected status prevents the product name from misuse, imitation, or unfair competition.

Japan has a high fish consumption per capita (45.12kg in 2021) and demand for our seafood products. Therefore geographical protection is welcome news for our seafood PGI’s.

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss free trade agreements and how they may benefit your imports or exports, please email the regulation team