Theresa May’s Tory Government has pledged 40 existing free trade deals with 70 different countries will still apply under a no deal Brexit. But a leaked document suggests that, in fact, just six will be ready in time for Brexit Day on March 29. A minister said Mr Fox was instead trying to persuade countries to carry out an exchange of “letters of understanding”. A source told The Sun: “We’re not going to get many of the deals over the line in time now.
“What we hope to have instead is letters of understanding with all the remaining countries, which will go some way to reassuring business.”
The leaked tally shows just six countries in green, including Chile, Switzerland, an Eastern and Southern African block and the Faroe Islands.
While, deals with Israel and the Palestinian Authority are “on track”.
Meanwhile, there are nine countries in yellow, including South Korea and Canada, which indicates “deliverability by March 29 as off-track”.
And red and black warnings have been given to 23 other EU deals, including Mexico, Macedonia, Tunisia, Ukraine, Japan, Turkey and Jordan, which are dubbed as “significantly off track” or “not possible to be completed by March 2019”.
Commenting on the tally, a spokesman for the Department of International Trade said: “This does not reflect the whole picture: in 2018, around 12 percent of UK trade took place under EU Trade Agreements in force.
“We have already signed a number of agreements including with Switzerland, the largest of these. We continue to work to replicate as many of these as possible, until exit day, to ensure the maximum continuity of UK trade.
“Of course, the best way to ensure that all existing agreements continue to apply is to pass the Withdrawal Agreement.”
Mr Fox put pen to paper on the deal in the Swiss capital Bern on Monday, saying the agreement provides a “solid foundation” for a post-Brexit trading relationship.
But the Brexiteer is under pressure to keep up the success with just 44 days to go until Britain is due to walk away from Brussels.
The government is working to roll over existing free trade deals and has so far signed mutual recognition agreements with Australia and Japan.
Switzerland joins Chile, the Faroe Islands and parts of Southern and Eastern Africa which have been signed up to continuity agreements.
However the future relationship with dozens of countries across the rest of the globe, including the world’s biggest economies the US, China and the EU is still far from clear