In less than two years, we have concluded trade agreements with 57 countries representing $193 billion of bilateral trade in the United Kingdom. It`s unprecedented. No other country has ever negotiated so many trade agreements at the same time. The government`s goal is to reach free trade agreements with countries covering 80% of the UK`s trade within three years. These two agreements are essential for the future of the United Kingdom as an independent trading nation. Not only do they include billions of euros of trade, but they also pave the way for new digital partnerships and membership of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This will play the strengths of the United Kingdom as we become a hub for the influential technology and digital trade far beyond our borders and define our role in the world for decades to come. The CPTPP sets modern rules in sectors such as digital, financial, professional and commercial services, which play the UK`s strengths. Our membership will help make the UK a global hub for businesses and investors who want to trade with the rest of the world, which would not have been possible as a member of the EU. EvFTA marks a new chapter in Vietnam`s relations with the EU and, with the EU-Singapore FREE Trade Agreement, paves the way for new trade agreements with other ASEAN members and the EU, and even a multilateral free trade agreement between ASEAN and the EU. The milestones are set, but companies must play their part. Much of the success of these agreements depends on companies becoming familiar with them.
As more and more countries want to join the CPTPP and negotiations on the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) continue, companies need to start integrating trade agreements into their supply chain and trade planning, especially as we prepare for a recovery of the economy. As the UK`s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, the Singapore Continuity Agreement will provide a gateway to Asia for British businesses and reap the benefits of our existing $17.6 billion trading relationship last year. Facilitation of international trade will be a driving force for economic recovery and it is essential that we use the instruments at our disposal to ensure that this recovery is going as smoothly as possible. This is the latest step in the UK`s strategy to create a network of trade agreements with dynamic economies far beyond Europe and to make the UK a hub for services and digital commerce. The UK is already one of the world`s largest exporters of services, with exports of remote services worth $207 billion in 2019.