The UK can achieve a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union by the end of 2020 but only if Parliament accepts Boris Johnson’s current deal to exit the bloc by October 31, a senior Cabinet minister has said.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said numerous countries including the US and Japan were keen to secure FTAs with Britain.
“Our friends across the Channel have also indicated a desire for a strong trade agreement and there is plenty of time to secure an EU FTA by the end of 2020 if we leave with this deal on October 31 without further pointless delay,” Ms Truss wrote in The Daily Telegraph.
On Thursday, Ms Truss’s Tory colleague Conor Burns gave an update to the Commons on the UK’s post-Brexit trade agreements.
Mr Burns told MPs: “In preparation for our exit from the European Union the Government has, to date, secured 16 continuity trade agreements with 46 countries.
“Trade with these countries represents 72 per cent of the UK’s total trade.”
Ms Truss has previously indicated that the UK could have up to 10 free ports creating “thousands of jobs” after it leaves the EU.
On Monday she wrote that Parliament had a chance to end the lack of clarity about Britain’s trade future.
“And think of where we could be in December 2020 if we do?” she added.
“Free trade deals negotiated with the EU and other partners that ensure our future as a high skilled, innovative, free enterprise economy, excelling in tech, data and services and selling our high-quality food around the world.”