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Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

Forge new economic and security partnerships

Last updated: 04:24pm 29 November 2019

…and forge new economic and security partnerships that make us more prosperous at home and more secure abroad.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.38

Our verdict

UK foreign policy in recent years has been largely driven by the prospect of the country’s exit from the European Union. As an EU member, the UK is party to economic and security deals made collectively between all the member states and non-EU countries. Leaving the EU would require the UK to “forge new economic and security partnerships” of its own. This policy is a promise to do just that.

Since the election, the government has been focused on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which would take effect if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The complete list is available on the government’s website.

In September 2019, the UK government  launched an online consultation to prepare for trade negotiations with Japan after Brexit. The UK and Japan have already committed to seeking an economic partnership which is just as ambitious, high standard and mutually beneficial as the existing EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

Nevertheless, none of these EPAs are yet in force, and many are still being negotiated.

The nature of any trade deal with the United States – a top priority for a post-Brexit Britain – is also currently uncertain.

In terms of security partnerships, in May 2018 the government published the Framework for the UK-EU Security Partnership. The document covers both internal and external security, and will form the basis of ongoing negotiations with the EU.

The government is still very much in the process of formulating new economic and security partnerships; none of the new EPAs are in force and all are dependent on the outcome of Brexit negotiations with the European Union. This policy, then, remains ‘in progress’.

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