The UK’s free trade agreements – Q1 2023 | News & Blogs | Seafish

The UK’s free trade agreements – Q1 2023

We will be writing a quarterly news piece on the UK governments progress with negotiating free trade agreements.

What is a free trade agreement?

A free trade agreement (FTA) is a set of rules agreed between two parties which enables trading on preferential terms. The agreement aims to reduce barriers allowing freer movement of goods.

Which countries does the UK have a free trade agreement with?

When the UK left the EU in 2020, many of the existing free trade agreements were “rolled over” to allow the UK to keep trading with the given country. You can see the list of FTA agreements in force on the governments website.

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

Now that the UK is an independent trading nation, it can agree new FTA’s as well as re-negotiate with existing countries. Before negotiations begin, the government does a consultation which allows industry to input their views. These responses help shape the objectives and negotiations can begin. Once the negotiations are complete, the FTA is signed and begins the ratification process. After this it can be entered into force, which means businesses can start using the FTA.

What is the progress with negotiations?

The table below shows which stage we are on for each country.

Free Trade Agreement Progress















New Zealand





























South Korea












The Australia and New Zealand FTA’s are currently in the ratification stage. As reported by Department for Business and Trade: “The Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill, which covers the primary legislation needed to bring the deals into law, is currently in the House of Lords and its Report stage will be on 14 March. Once the Bill has received Royal Assent, secondary legislation will need to be passed before the agreements can be brought into force.” It is expected to come into force in the spring.

The negotiations with India have finished their 7th round.  Seafish wrote a piece on how a free trade agreement with India could benefit the seafood industry highlighting some of the barriers when trading with In. Seafood is an important sector for both countries. As well as the tariff barriers, we also looked at non tariff barriers such as SPS issues.  

The third round of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) took place between 12 and 16 March.

The Secretary of State visited Mexico in February to help progress trade negotiations. Top of the agenda is the UK’s bid to join CPTPP and the new bilateral UK and Mexico free trade agreement.  

On 31 March, the UK government announced that they have concluded their talks to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The UK will have better access to growing Pacific markets where there is a demand for high-quality UK products. Negotiations to join the CPTPP began in June 2021 and have concluded after a round in Vietnam earlier this month.

What is Seafish working on with regards to FTA’s?

Seafish is writing a report on trading with Canada which will be sent to the department of business and trade (DBT) in due course. We will next be looking at South Korea.

We will also be writing an explainer on the CPTPP and what joining this trading block has to offer.

If you have any input on trading with Canada or South Korea please email the regulation team.