Even the EU only claims deals with 36 countries are in force, and that's optimistic

Brexit Facts4EU.Org once again debunks the lies around “EU trade deals”

EU trade deals

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2019 - see below for full clickable version

“The UK is seeking to replicate about 40 EU free trade agreements, covering more than 70 countries.”

- BBC, 11 Feb 2019

“The UK is party to around 40 European treaties, covering trade with more than 70 countries and making up 12% of the UK's total trade.”

- Sky News, 11 Feb 2019

Brexit Summary

Reality: Today the EU claims ‘agreements’ with only 36 countries are ‘in place’.

This is half the number of 70 countries spoken about by the British media.

The vast majority of these are tiny or meaningless. Very few of these are what might be called Free Trade Agreements.

Only 1 is officially labelled by the EU as a “Free Trade Agreement” – South Korea

  • 3 of the 36 ‘agreements in place’ have no effect on tariffs anyway
  • 3 of the remaining 33 are already part of the EU Customs Union, eg Andorra
  • 3 of the remaining 30 are already part of the EEA (European Economic Area), eg Liechtenstein
  • 6 of the remaining 27 are “Stabilisation & Association Agreements” with EU-accession countries
  • 5 of the last 21 are in fact one ‘Partnership Agreement’ deal with Southern African states such as Lesotho
  • Of the remaining 21, there are “Association Agreements” with tiny countries like Moldova

EU trade deals

The only trade arrangements of any significance which the UK might wish to replicate are with Switzerland (completed by Dr Liam Fox yesterday), South Korea, Japan (only just signed by the EU and not yet completed), Canada (not yet ratified by EU), Norway, Mexico and Israel. Norway is part of the EEA and therefore should be a discussion amongst friends.

The EU’s official list of “Agreements in Place”

  • Albania (Western Balkans)
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Western Balkans)
  • Botswana (SADC)
  • Chile
  • Egypt
  • Eswatini (SADC)
  • Faroe Islands
  • Georgia
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kosovo (UNSCR 1244)
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho (SADC)
  • Liechtenstein
  • Macedonia (Western Balkans)
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro (Western Balkans)
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique (SADC)
  • Namibia (SADC)
  • Norway
  • Palestinian Authority
  • San Marino
  • Serbia (Western Balkans)
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

Looking at the above table, and without in any way wishing to be disrespectful to many of the countries on the list, where’s the USA? Where are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia? (All members of the G20.)


Yesterday the broadcast media greeted with disdain the good news that the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, had signed a trade deal with Switzerland. The story was not that he had signed a trade deal, but that he was ‘prioritising’ the largest economies with whom to agree a deal pre-Brexit.

What on earth would they expect? The majority of the countries on the EU’s list of ‘agreements in place’ would barely be noticeable if for any reason they chose not to replicate the deals they have with the EU. Indeed, in many cases these ‘deals’ come at a net cost, such as those with EU-accession countries where the EU actually gives these countries billions and which the UK taxpayer part-pays for.

Do journalists expect Dr Liam Fox to give the same weight to tiny Moldova with whom the UK does virtually no business, as to Switzerland, with which the UK does a lot of trade?

The propaganda is relentless

British journalists who want to present the EU as some form of Holy Grail are ably assisted by the EU, which puts out a daily stream of propaganda. Many journalists seem to read the first few lines, and this is what is presented to the public.

It doesn’t take long to drill down and see the true picture, but the real facts don’t fit the narrative, and so are ignored.

Yesterday proved to be a classic case in point

When we started reporting on this three years ago, the EU claimed just six ‘free trade agreements’. After attention started to be focused on this area of EU incompetence during the Referendum campaign, the number of ‘agreements’ which were listed by the EU steadily multiplied. Soon all manner of loose ‘co-operation agreements’ started to be included, as readers can see above.

Even with agreements which aren’t free trade agreements at all, the EU can only list 36 countries with whom something is ‘in place’.

The ultimate irony

Most British journalists don’t seem to understand one fundamental thing. It is not necessary to have a Free Trade Agreement with a country in order to trade with it successfully.

Currently the top country taking UK exports is the USA. Not Germany, not France, not even Italy. For years the USA has been the UK’s biggest customer.

Thanks to the EU’s incompetence at negotiating trade deals, they couldn’t even manage to conclude a US deal when the europhiliac President Obama was in power.

#GoWTO public campaign

A full, clean World Trade Brexit on 29 March means that the UK can finally deal with the World on its own terms in the interests of the British people, not in the interests of French farmers, Spanish orange growers, or German washing machine manufacturers.

Whether we negotiate free trade deals, reduce our ‘most-favoured’ tariffs for WTO trade, or a combination of the two, the UK’s trading future will be full of possibilities for British business and British success.

Please tell your MP by using our #GoWTO campaign. And please donate so that we can bring you more facts like these above, and so that we can carry out far more campaigning in these vital days for Brexit.

[ Sources: EU Commission Trade Directorate ] Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.

12 Feb 2019

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