The Department for Business and Trade has made progress on three key trade negotiations in the month of May. This statement provides Parliament with an update on the UK’s trade negotiations with Israel, Mexico, and Switzerland. The Government will continue to keep Parliament updated as these negotiations progress.
UK-Israel trade negotiations
The second round of United Kingdom-Israel free trade agreement negotiations commenced on 9 May, concluding on 17 May. This round of negotiations was hosted by the UK and conducted in a hybrid manner; a group of Israeli officials travelled to London for in-person discussions, with further officials attending virtually.
Prior to the round, the Secretary of State visited Israel to meet her counterpart, Minister Nir Barkat, to discuss the negotiations and the wider UK-Israel trade and business relationship.
During this round policy officials held text-based discussions, having exchanged draft chapter texts in advance of the round. Technical discussions were held across 30 policy areas and 60 sessions in London. Negotiations covered the breadth of the upgraded agreement.
The ongoing negotiations for a new modern free trade agreement putting services and innovation at its heart will upgrade our trade relationship, worth £7.2 billion in the four quarters to the end of 2022, supporting new opportunities for our businesses.
UK-Mexico trade negotiations
The third round of United Kingdom-Mexico free trade agreement negotiations commenced on 15 May, concluding on 19 May. This round of negotiations took place in Mexico City in a hybrid format, with a UK delegation of officials travelling for in-person discussions.
Officials held discussions across 66 sessions with 39 being held in person in Mexico City. A key objective for the round, at this relatively early stage, was to develop a more in-depth understanding of Mexico’s trade policy positions and priorities and use the opportunity to move our positions closer together through detailed discussions on treaty text.
These negotiations continue to reflect our shared ambition to secure a comprehensive and updated deal and to strengthen our existing trading relationship, worth over £4.8 billion in the four quarters to the end of 2022. Both countries agree that this is an opportunity to complement and add value to the UK’s accession to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for transpacific partnership (CPTPP).
UK-Switzerland trade negotiations
The first round of UK-Switzerland free trade agreement negotiations commenced on 22 May, concluding 2 June. This round of negotiations was hosted by the UK and took place in a hybrid manner; a group of Swiss officials travelled to London for in-person discussions, with some additional officials attending virtually.
Prior to the round the Secretary of State visited Switzerland to formally launch negotiations with her counterpart, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, where they discussed the significant opportunities an enhanced trade deal presented for both the UK and Switzerland.
During the round, officials held discussions across 30 policy areas and 53 sessions both in person in London and virtually. Chapter negotiators focused their discussions on establishing a more detailed understanding of the outcomes the UK and Switzerland are seeking and began to share early text proposals to work from.
These negotiations demonstrate our shared ambitions to upgrade and future-proof our current trade agreement to reflect the focus of both of our economies by delivering modern provisions for services, which represent over 70% of GDP for both our economies, while also identifying opportunities to further remove tariff barriers and create commercially meaningful opportunities.
The Government remain clear that any deal we sign, including with Israel, Switzerland and Mexico, will be in the best interests of the British people and the United Kingdom economy. We will not compromise on our high environmental and labour protections, public health, animal welfare and food standards, and we will maintain our right to regulate in the public interest. We are also clear that during these negotiations, the NHS, and the services it provides is not on the table.
His Majesty’s Government will continue to work closely with Israel, Mexico, and Switzerland to ensure negotiations proceed at pace and takes place on terms that are right for the UK.