Trade Deals Around the World: March Edition

World Trade News (Image: teal world viewed from space with connection lines spreading across the image)

Trade Deals Around the World is our periodic update, which gives you a quick and easy overview of what has been happening in the many trade deal negotiations worldwide. 

We focus on the European Union and the United Kingdom and watch China and the United States. We look back at February and focus on trade deals only in this update. For impacts on trade caused by the war in Ukraine, read our update here. Happy reading!. 

The European Union and the United States 

There has been a dispute on oyster and mussel trade between the European Union and the United States for ten years. The conflict has recently been resolved, and trade has been resumed: 

Trade in live mollusks between the EU and the U.S. had stopped in 2011 due to a divide in regulatory standards. 

Under the deal announced Friday, two EU member countries — Spain and the Netherlands — will be allowed to export mollusks to the U.S., while two American states — Massachusetts and Washington — can now trade to the EU. 

In addition to Spain and the Netherlands, the EU said that other member countries could join the agreement and be allowed to export mollusks to the U.S. under a simplified authorization procedure. 

The U.S. is the EU’s largest trade and investment partner.  AP News 

The United Kingdom - An Overview 

When The United Kingdom left the European Union, they also left all the trade deals that the EU has in place. All these must be re-negotiated, and the United Kingdom is working hard to get this done. For people who want to read up on what has happened until this year, see here: UK trade: A summary of developments in 2021 or read our Brexit news here

The United Kingdom and The United States 

The United Kingdom has been trying to negotiate a trade deal with the United States, one of the largest economies in the world and one of the biggest trade partners of the United Kingdom. Until now, these attempts have been unsuccessful. It even looks like negotiations with separate States are needed. 

Boris Johnson’s government is seeking a series of “mini” agreements with individual US states after Joe Biden poured cold water on the prospect of a free trade deal with the UK. 

The Department for International Trade (DIT) said it was “exploring” ways to boost state-level ties in the hope of opening up new opportunities for British businesses. 

The Independent 

The UK had hoped a post-Brexit deal with its biggest single-country trading partner would be an early success of being able to determine its own trade policy after leaving the EU. 

However, US president Joe Biden has focused on the domestic agenda and side-lined trade talks with the UK. 

Institute of Export & International Trade 

The United Kingdom Starting and Continuing Talks for New Deals 

The United Kingdom will start and has started negotiations with various countries. 


International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will today [1 February] meet with Israel Minister of Economy Orna Barbivai to kickstart preparations for a new trade deal that will deepen economic ties between long-standing allies. 

The UK government will launch an eight-week consultation to seek the views of business and the public, ahead of negotiations starting later this year, as is standard. The UK is Israel’s third largest trading partner, with £2.7 billion worth of British exports going there in 2020 and an overall trade relationship worth £4.8 billion. 

South Korea: 

South Korea and Britain have agreed to launch talks this year to upgrade their free trade deal in a move to deepen ties in digital trade and other new issues, Seoul's trade ministry said…

The two nations clinched the FTA in August 2019 in the wake of Britain's departure from the European Union, and the pact went into effect in January 2021 following Britain's departure from the European Union.  The Korea Herald 

Trans-Pacific Trade Pact: 

Members of a trans-Pacific trade pact have agreed that Britain can proceed with its bid to join the group, Japan said on Friday, as it looks for new trading relationships after leaving the European Union. 

Under the terms of the pact, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), members Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia remove 95% of tariffs between them.  Reuters 

The United States 

We encountered several interesting stories about the United States. 

We already wrote about China not meeting the volumes agreed on in the Phase One trade agreement between the United States and China in last month's update. Patience is wearing thin. 

The U.S. is losing patience with China after the nation failed to meet its purchase commitments under their trade agreement reached during the Trump administration, according to American officials. 

The U.S. has engaged with China’s government on the shortfalls, but hasn’t seen any real signs of the nation making good on its commitments over the last several months, the officials said, asking not to be named without permission to speak publicly.  Bloomberg 

Japan has reached a trade deal with the United States on steel. 

The U.S. and Japan reached a truce that will allow most steel shipments from the Asian nation to enter tariff-free for the first time since 2018 and sees the countries working together to combat Chinese trade practices that harm the industry. 

Washington will suspend the 25% levy on incoming steel imports from Japan up to 1.25 million metric tons a year, officials from the Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative’s office told reporters... Anything beyond that will still be subject to additional charges. The agreement will take effect April 1, the officials said. Al Jazeera 

Still, the United States is involved in several trade disputes. The Hill has rounded them up: 

The Biden administration has sought to ease tensions with Europe, Japan and the United Kingdom (UK). But China, India, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey are still waiting for relief. This is a big problem, because these countries have cases pending at the WTO, and rulings are due in the second quarter of 2022. The U.S. will lose them all. Worse, the way in which the U.S. will lose is going to create chaos throughout the global economy and imperil American exports for years to come.  The Hill

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