The UK’s free trade agreements – July to September 2023 | Seafish

The UK’s free trade agreements – July to September 2023

This blog will provide an update on the UK Government's progress with free trade agreements (FTAs) for the last quarter.

What is the progress with negotiations?

When the UK left the EU, many of the free trade agreements (FTAs) were 'rolled over' allowing the UK to continue trading. However, the UK is now in the process of negotiating new updated FTAs as an independent trading nation.

You can see the list of FTAs in force on the government's website.

The table below shows which stage we are on for new FTAs.

Free Trade Agreement Progress





































South Korea














Although there isn’t any change from the last quarter, the negotiation rounds have still been taking place over the summer months.

Discussions have continued with the Canada and Mexico negotiations. The India negotiation has completed its 12th round and the GCC has completed its 4th round. Lastly, the FTA text for the CPTPP has been published. Although this FTA is not yet in force, businesses can prepare on how to benefit. You can find our CPTPP analysis below.


On 16 July 2023, the UK formally signed the accession into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP is a trading block in the Asia Pacific. There are 11 signatories:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam

The CPTPP is neither a customs union or a single market. Each member maintains its own market access schedules and its own practices for imports. This differs from the European Union as the UK is still in control of its own rules and procedures.

The UK and the CPTPP

It is important to note that the CPTPP FTA has not yet entered into force for the UK as this is still in the ratification stage. Certain provisions of the CPTPP are modified for the UK by the accession protocol. This means that the FTA must be read alongside the UK's accession protocol to understand the UK’s position.

The UK has bilateral FTAs with most of the CPTPP members. Traders will therefore have the choice when importing or exporting whether to use the bilateral agreement or the CPTPP agreement. Malaysia and Brunei will be new markets as the UK did not have FTAs with these countries.

Our analysis of the CPTPP free trade agreement is that it will have a positive impact on importers, exporters and seafood processors. It provides more flexibility and opportunities than the bilateral agreements, as well as choice of raw materials for businesses.


  • Tariffs of seafood commodities will be reduced to 0% for most CPTPP exports. There are some tariffs in Japan, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam but these will reduce to 0% over 3 – 15 years.
  • Tariffs on seafood imports into the UK will be reduced to 0% for many seafood commodities. There will be a staged reduction on items such as herring, mackerel, lobsters and other shellfish.
  • The rules of origin chapter allows seafood traders to use any CPTPP originating products and export it to any CPTPP country, at the preferential tariffs. It also allows processors to use non originating seafood (only on selected commodities) and do a 4 digit heading change, which would be enough to meet the rules of origin. This could be processes such as filleting, freezing and salting.
  • The SPS chapter has an equivalence mechanism. This would allow the exporting country to provide evidence to show that they can meet the importing countries SPS requirements. This mechanism could help us to reduce SPS barriers between some of the CPTPP members.

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