Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary, had previously indicated that Britain could agree with global trade partners to roll over or “adopt” existing EU agreements to ensure business as usual. However, this plan was put into doubt yesterday when Rob Davies, South Africa’s trade minister, announced that that a new trade agreement would have to be negotiated between the two nation and that South Africa would push for enhanced access to Britain for its agricultural sector. Negotiations over quotas, with a limit on the amount of produce that can enter the country before punitive tariffs are introduced, could make replicating the 38 EU free trade agreements during the two-year exit negotiations a huge undertaking, particularly if other countries push for greater access to the UK market. Mr. Davies said in a statement – “the reason there are quotas in place on those products is not really because the UK has an interest but because other parts of the EU see our products as competitive. I don’t think we’re going to have difficult conversations with the UK.” “Our message to the EU’s other members is that whenever somebody joined the EU we have never had an increase in quotas and we don’t expect there to be a reduction when somebody leaves.”
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