During the Brexit transition period, the Withdrawal Agreement obliges the UK to comply with its obligations under international agreements (including trade agreements) negotiated by the EU. As a general rule, non-EU parties to these agreements were not required to pay counterparties, although in practice many of them chose to do so or formally expressed their willingness to take over existing agreements as part of the transition (see this briefing). Initially, there was less information on the government`s preparations to replace or address agreements covered by the EU`s many international agreements on non-trade issues. A note from the Department for International Trade published in June and then updated says trade with countries with which the government is seeking continuity agreements was worth £138.7 billion, or 10.7% of the UK`s total trade in 2018. The figures do not include Turkey and Japan, as well as other countries with which a continuity agreement will not be possible before the withdrawal. The note states that the continuity agreements signed so far accounted for 64.2% of the 10.7%. A reintegration with EFTA would be important beyond the direct trade relations between the United Kingdom and the EFTA States. Indeed, EFTA not only facilitates and deepens free trade between its own members, but also facilitates free trade relations between itself and other countries. In this respect, EFTA has been much more successful than the EU, contrary to the pro-remain mythology spread in the campaign which, contrary to facts and objective evidence, claimed that it was advantageous to belong to a large bloc like the EU to conclude trade agreements with other countries. Other agreements are less material, at least for Britain: the protection of swordfish in Chile or the « Rules of Procedure of the International Rubber Study Group ».
Such interests are not perceptible in relation to the Brexit issue, but in the end, it is budgetary management that must be conducted. Many of the EU agreements apply to less developed countries, which tend to impose fairly high tariffs on certain products. In such cases, UK exporters could lose the advantage of a reduction in preferential tariffs, making them considerably less competitive, especially vis-à-vis SUPPLIERS ESTABLISHED IN THE EU. One of the consequences of the UK`s accession to the EU is that many aspects of the UK`s external relations now pass through part or all of the EU. Following Brexit, the UK will be able to regain direct control of its external relations, including trade relations. . . .