The UK and Chile have signed a new trade continuity agreement that will allow British businesses and consumers to continue benefiting from preferential trading arrangements with Chile after it leaves the European Union.
The UK Ambassador to Chile, Jamie Bowden signed the UK-Chile agreement in Santiago on Wednesday with Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero.
It means that UK manufacturers will continue to benefit from preferential access to the Chilean market to sell their goods, and UK consumers will benefit from lower prices on Chilean goods, such as wines, fruits and nuts and other products.
“This certainty will help to further strengthen the trading relationship between the UK and Chile which was worth £1.8bn and grew by 11 per cent in 2017,” the British government said, adding that it expected to signed a number of other agreements in the coming weeks at it prepared to leave the EU on 29 March.
Trade in goods and services between the UK and Chile has grown by 9 per cent per year on average since the agreement was provisionally applied in 2003. In that time, UK exports to Chile have grown by 16 per cent on average each year and a total increase of 351per cent.
The agreement also protects intellectual property rights and maintains preferential market access for trade in services.
It will also allow British and Chilean companies to bid for some public sector contracts in each other’s countries, helping to create jobs and deliver better value for taxpayers.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “Today we have signed an important trade continuity agreement as we prepare to leave the European Union.
“This will ensure there is no disruption to British business exporting to Chile after we leave the EU and will mean consumers continue to benefit from low prices and more choice on supermarket shelves.
“Our trading relationship with Chile continues to go from strength to strength, with exports rising over 20 per cent to almost £1bn last year.”
The UK’s Ambassador to Chile Jamie Bowden highlighted the long-lasting trade relationship between the two countries.
“The UK is still working to achieve an agreement with the EU on the terms of our departure. The success of those talks will determine whether the current EU-Chile agreement ceases to apply to the UK at the end of March this year, or at the end of an Implementation Period,” Bowden noted.
“In either scenario, the agreement we have signed today means that there will be no disruption to UK-Chile trade as the UK leaves the EU.”