As a member of the European Union, the UK currently participates in around 40 free trade agreements with more than 70 countries. These free trade agreements cover a wide variety of relationships, including economic partnership agreements with developing nations; association agreements, which cover broader economic and political co-operation; and trade agreements with countries that are closely aligned with the EU, such as Turkey and Switzerland. Of course, more conventional free trade agreements are also part of the package.
Businesses in the UK, EU and partner countries are eligible for a range of preferential market-access opportunities under the terms of the free trade agreements. Those opportunities can include, but are not limited to, preferential duties for goods, including reductions in import tariff rates across a wide variety of products, quotas for reduced or nil payments of payable duties, and quotas for more relaxed rules-of-origin requirements; enhanced market access for service providers; access to public procurement opportunities across a range of sectors; and improved protections for intellectual property.
For continuity and stability for businesses, consumers and investors, we are committed to ensuring that the benefits I have outlined are maintained, providing a smooth transition as we leave the EU. The Department for International Trade, the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development are working with partner countries to prepare to maintain existing trading relationships.