Letter - Future Free Trade Agreements by the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Trade Secretary

As we prepare for our trading future, my department is launching a series of tools to help businesses take up these opportunities and to have their say on shaping the future trading arrangements of our country.

As you know, the Prime Minister has negotiated an excellent Withdrawal Agreement with the EU that will allow us to have an independent trade policy for the first time in nearly 50 years. We will have the freedom to set our own rules and regulations, and to strike free trade deals. With 90% of global growth expected to come from outside of the EU in the next five years, we have a golden opportunity to shape our own future as a truly global, outward-looking free-trading nation.

Our ambition is to negotiate free trade agreements that bring more access and lower tariffs for British companies. We have already made excellent progress by laying the foundations for trade talks with, among others, Australia, New Zealand and, crucially, the US, which remains our single largest trading partner and a key ally, accounting for more than 15% of total trade - £210.7 billion.

And last month we launched a call for input from businesses and citizens to help us decide what an ambitious trade arrangement with Japan could look like. This will build on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), so it is vital we hear from as many people as possible about what they want from this exciting new relationship. People in your area have until 4th November to have their say and I would ask that you urge them to do so by using this link: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/trade-with-japan.

In addition, this week my department launched an upgrade to our Great.gov.uk website. Great.gov.uk offers businesses the support they need to become an exporter, with advice on global markets and export opportunities, and the chance to connect with an expert trade advisor. It lists thousands of tenders and sales opportunities - helping firms connect with new customers worldwide and stake their claim in our golden trading future.

Finally, DIT will be launching a new service on gov.uk to help businesses check duties and customs procedures for exporting goods. This will provide information on rules and restrictions, tax and duty rates and what exporting documents are needed.

As we open more trading opportunities across the globe, it is vital that people have the tools they need to grasp the opportunities that lie ahead. I would appreciate it enormously if you would do everything you can to make your constituents aware of these important resources.

Best wishes,

Secretary of State for International Trade
& President of the Board of Trade