Faisal Islam, Political Editor at Sky News, today reported that the Trade Secretary Liam Fox is visiting Korea, a key trade partner of the UK.
I noticed that Islam tweeted what has long been suspected regarding the possible rollover of the EU-Korea FTA, namely that “the EU has not and will not write key letter to Seoul and the other dozens of trade partners asking them to treat UK as a continuing EU member in transition for purposes of trade until Withdrawal Deal done. Limbo.”
A little background: the EU has an FTA in force with Korea. As a matter of law, that will cease to apply to the UK when it leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. Earlier in the year the EU agreed to write a letter to Korea, and its other FTA partners, requesting that the UK is treated as a continuing member of the EU during the transition period into which the UK will move, assuming that a Withdrawal Agreement can be finalised before 29 March 2019 (which despite recent blips I think is still probable, if not certain). If they all say yes, this prevents the scenario under which the UK is effectively treated as a member of the EU by the EU and itself until 1 January 2021, but it falls out of the FTAs, third countries not being bound by the Withdrawal Agreement.