What are Trade Deals, really?

In the post - referendum period in the UK, there has been a lot of discussion of "trade deals", which it will wish to make with countries outside the EU. It's also suggested that these countries will be equally keen to make them with the UK.

Unfortunately, the discussion is often very imprecise and misleading, perhaps building unrealistic expectations. A trade deal is something like a framework in which the parties agree general terms on which they expect to transact future business.

This is clearly rather different from a sales contract for the supply of goods or services, requiring specific negotiation on each occasion. However, in an increasingly complex world, trade deals are important to smooth the path of trade. In short, (and see our post of 1 January 2016) they are very necessary, but definitely not sufficient.


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