Our priority is to be in a position to begin formal negotiations with key partners after we leave the EU, and to then make progress towards substantive deals, so long as such deals work for the whole of the UK. We have consulted on our first four potential free trade agreements (FTAs), with Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). We will publish the government’s response to these consultations before any negotiations begin.
Trade agreements vary in shape, scope and form. There is no “average” timeframe for a deal. For example, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada took seven years to negotiate, the China-Switzerland FTA took two, but the USA-Jordan FTA negotiations only four months. The government is clear that its objective is to negotiate the best possible free trade agreements for the whole of the UK. Necessarily, this will take different amounts of time to conclude with different partners.