UK plans to adopt EU's trade agreements with third countries after Brexit: minister

Britain's Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox gestures as he leaves 10 Downing Street, London, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain expects to be able to adopt the European Union’s free trade agreements (FTA) with around 40 countries after it leaves the bloc rather than negotiate new deals, trade minister Liam Fox said on Wednesday.

Fox said the agreements were not all of equal value and Britain would prioritize the EU-Korea and EU-Switzerland deals as they accounted for about 80 percent of the trade by value.

“We see it as simply being transitions,” he told a committee of lawmakers.

“We have made it very clear to countries that we would like to see a transition of their agreements to a UK agreement when we leave the EU. So far we have not yet had a country that didn’t want to do that. That is a lot easier as a process than negotiating a new FTA.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison