UK preparing to copy and paste existing EU trade deals, Theresa May reveals
The Government is preparing to duplicate dozens of existing EU trade deals after Brexit, Theresa May has revealed.
The EU has a variety of different deals with some 50 countries, ranging from free trade deals to pacts with poorer countries which also involve development assistance.
The bloc recently concluded the CETA deal with the Canadian government after some seven years of negotiations.
Speaking to reporters at the start of a three-day trip to Japan, the Prime Minister said ministers were looking at simply copy and pasting the UK is currently signed up to as an EU member.
"When we leave the EU we are looking at obviously a number of trade deals the EU has with other countries and we are looking at the possibility of those being able to be brought over into - certainly initially - trade deals with the United Kingdom."
Japan is one of the countries currently in negotiations with the EU about a trade deal, and Mrs May said she hoped Brussels would speed up those talks.
"We have been very clear as one of the nations sitting around the table that has been pressing the EU to get on with this deal with Japan, we think this is an important deal for the EU," she said.
"We will continue to press the EU to go forward on the Japan deal, which of course they have made some initial steps on, but there is still a long way to go."
Elsewhere an aide to Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe stressed the strong trade links between his country and the UK.
While there have been reports of some Japanese firms looking to leave Britain because of Brexit, special advisor Tomohiko Taniguchi said his compatriots were very keen to do business.
He told the Today programme: "Britain has always cut a special niche for Japan, there is an inherent preference among Japanese people, for Japanese industrialists, for doing business wherever possible in the United Kingdom.
"Naturally there is a strong desire for business leaders to continue to do business, if possible, in the UK."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe