Britain will strike ‘at least two major trade deals’ during Brexit transition

Posted On: 
3rd April 2018

Britain will have at least two major trade deals ready to go when the Brexit transition period ends in 2020, the Government has predicted.

The Brexit transition period will begin in March next year when the UK formally leavs the EU
Credit: 
PA

The Department for International Trade will begin to negotiate global trade deals in March next year when the UK officially leaves the EU, but will not be able to implement them until the handover period ends in December 2020.

The Department for International Trade has already started the process by setting up working groups with more than 20 countries across the world — including the US, New Zealand and Australia.

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A source close to the department told The Sun: “I’d expect a minimum of two new trade deals to be ready to implement on January 1st 2021. That’s very doable”.

However, this comes amid warnings to the UK’s banks that they must implement their hard Brexit contingency plans rather than rely on transition deal arrangements.

The European Central Bank has told British financial services firms to prepare for “a no-deal scenario leading to a hard Brexit with no transition”.

According to industry sources, the move could cost up to 10,000 jobs.

One told The Times the intervention was part of  a “co-ordinated lobbying campaign” by France to use Brexit to undermine London’s position as Europe’s finance hub.

They told the newspaper: “Their first priority is to repatriate 30 years’ worth of losses in wholesale banking that migrated from Paris to London after the Big Bang. They are going about it in an extraordinarily integrated manner.

“From politicians, to regulators, to the French civil servants operating in the Commission to their representatives on trade bodies are doing everything they can to advance this agenda.

“And it is not just about banking. It’s insurance, its asset management — they want a chunk of that business to come back to Paris.”