UK signs free trade deals with Singapore & Vietnam

The UK has signed free trade deals with Singapore and Vietnam.

The deal with Singapore was announced on Thursday and covers a trade relationship worth over $22bn (£17bn) and is similar to the trade relationship the country currently has with the EU.

The deal between the UK and Vietnam was concluded on Friday, just weeks before the UK’s transition period ends.

The embassy said in a statement: “Today, UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Vietnam Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh concluded the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. This will be a further boost to UK-Vietnam bilateral trade, which has tripled between 2010 and 2019 to £5.7bn ($7.58bn)”.

Earlier this week the UK announced trade deals with Norway, Iceland, and Canada.

For the UK’s deal with Singapore, the agreement means the removal of tariffs and will enable both countries with access to each other’s markets in services. In addition, the deal will cut non-tariff barriers for pharmaceutical products, medical devices, renewable energy generation, and electronics, cars and vehicle parts.

The news of the various trade deals comes as Boris Johnson has said that the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit is a “strong possibility”.

Following talks with the European commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, Boris Johnson said the EU’s current offer was unacceptable.

“It was put to me that this was kind of a bit like twins, and the UK is one twin the EU is another, and if the EU decides to have a haircut then the UK is going to have a haircut or else face punishment. Or if the EU decides to buy an expensive handbag then the UK has to buy an expensive handbag too or else face tariffs.”

“Clearly that is not the sensible way to proceed and it’s unlike any other free trade deal. It’s a way of keeping the UK kind of locked in the EU’s … regulatory orbit.”

Adding the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson said:”There’s a strong possibility that we will have a solution much more like Australian relationship with the EU than a Canadian relationship with the EU.”

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Safiya focuses on business and political stories for UK Investor Magazine. Her interests include international development, travel and politics.