Sunday Express article: We now have 61 trade deals worth £867bn – we’ve proved the naysayers wrong

This article was first published in the Sunday Express

In striking trade deals across the world, I have found that these talks can go to the wire – but the result is worth the wait.

This rings true in what we have just agreed with our European friends, which delivers everything that the British public was promised in the referendum. As an outward-looking global trading nation, we will now take back control of our laws, borders, money, and trade. Defying the doubters, we have signed a free trade agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas.

Our deal with the European Union covers services, which the naysayers thought would be impossible, and we agreed ground-breaking measures to support our professionals including a strong deal in digital trade.

This will mark the culmination of this Government’s work to get Brexit done, and we can look forward to January 1, when the United Kingdom becomes a fully independent trading nation.

Our negotiators have worked across time zones and continents to secure deals with 61 countries, alongside the fantastic work Lord Frost has done securing this deal with the European Union.

No other nation has handled as many negotiations as we have, and in such challenging conditions. By championing the best of British business, we have underpinned £867 billion of UK trade and set the stage for it to grow further.

We have struck deals with like-minded allies to support our advanced manufacturers and food and drink producers, while cementing our status as a global services and technology hub.

In the last few months alone, we have made great strides in building a network of advanced trade deals across the Atlantic and Pacific. 

From Japan, where we are going further and faster to support our services and technology trade, and Singapore, where we plan to push new boundaries in innovation through a Digital Economy Agreement, to dynamic markets like Mexico, we have laid the groundwork to grow our trade with the four corners of the world.

Next year, we will push on towards gold standard agreements with great trading nations such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and will look to join one of the most vibrant trading areas on earth: the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Momentum is building behind our accession, as its members increasingly throw their weight behind us.

As part of the club, we would help set the standard for modern trade in the 21stcentury. We would have deeper access than ever to some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, equating to nearly £9 trillion.

Seizing unparalleled opportunities overseas, we will level up the country by bringing home jobs, investment and higher wages to every region and nation of the United Kingdom. 

Outside the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, we will have the freedom to regulate in a way that works for industry, to tailor our immigration system to attract the best and brightest and – as I have been doing – to negotiate agreements shaped to suit our interests.  

These British-shaped rules and deals present a world of opportunity, which we want business to make the most of. That is why we have ensured the UK is ready to seize its trading future.

We have set out what businesses and individuals need to do to get ready for our new start as an independent trading nation on – and many have already prepared.

From January 1, we will be in control of our own tariff regime, setting simpler and lower rates under the UK Global Tariff.

That will make it easier and cheaper to import goods, and we are encouraging green growth by reducing tariffs on hundreds of environmentally-friendly products – a move we hope others around the world will follow.

Together, we are paving the way to prosperity with like-minded allies worldwide – including, I am now glad to say – our friends in Europe.

We have a great story to tell as a free trading nation. Now Global Britain is back out in the world, flying the flag for free trade, enterprise and innovation, we can look forward in 2021 to writing its most exciting chapter yet.

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