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Liz Truss says UK will be ‘adding’ to trade deals in 2021
The Cabinet minister and her Ghanaian counterpart today put pen to paper to formalise the agreement brokered between the two countries last month. The deal will build on a £1.2billion trading relationship.
After signing off on the deal, Ms Truss said on Twitter: “The agreement secures certainty for business, supports jobs in both nations, and sets the stage for closer trading ties in the years to come.”
Ghana’s trade minster, Alan John Kyerematen, added: “I am pleased that we have finalised a new Interim Ghana-UK Trade Partnership Agreement providing duty free & quota free access for Ghana to the UK market & preferential tariff reductions for UK exporters.”
Official data shows Britain exported goods and services worth £722million to Ghana in 2019, and imported £498million of goods: mostly oil, fish, cocoa and fruit.
Work on securing the deal was close to being wrapped up by the end of last year, with a “consensus on the main elements of a trade agreement” being announced on December 31.
Liz Truss signed the trade deal with Ghana this morning
Officials from both countries then spent five weeks negotiating legal technicalities on some of the finer details with a final deal agreed on February 4.
In a joint statement issued last month, the two negotiating partners said the deal “reaffirms the deep interest of both Ghana and the UK to strengthen their longstanding trade and economic relationship”.
“This Agreement will provide for duty free and quota free access for Ghana to the UK market and preferential tariff reductions for UK exporters to the Ghanaian market,” it said.
“The Agreement also reflects the importance of integration between the West African States within the context of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and amongst African States within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“The Agreement further underscores their shared ambition to enhance relations between the UK, ECOWAS and African States more broadly.”
Since taking over as International Trade Secretary in June 2019, Ms Truss has been praised by Conservatives for speedily rolling over trade deals that previously covered the UK as part of the EU.
Liz Truss has signed over 60 trade deals since June 2019
More than 60 agreements have been finalised by the minister’s department since she took over the position.
This year agreeing on trade deals with Australia, New Zealand, the US and joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) are all key parts of the Government’s trade policy.
On January 31 the UK submitted its formal application to join thew CPTPP
The 11 country bloc is one of the fastest-growing free trade areas in the world set to overtake the EU in the next few years.
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Liz Truss submits UK’s application to join the CPTPP
Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan are all members of the CPTPP.
The free trade area is worth more than £9billion.
In an article for the Sunday Express at the time, Ms Truss said: “Now we are no longer held back by the EU, we have the freedom to go further and faster to support our job creators.
“That is why we are seizing opportunities available to us only as an independent trading nation.”
UK trade deals signed in the last two years
Meanwhile, there are hopes free trade deals with Australia and New Zealand could be wrapped up by next month, with officials hopeful of securing at least one of the deals by Easter.
A senior Department of International Trade official said: “There is a race between Australia and New Zealand.
“They should both be around Easter, maybe earlier if it goes well.”
Speaking to City AM, the official said negotiations with New Zealand and Australia were “neck and neck”.