This step is among the few concrete steps the UK government has taken towards mitigating issues revolving around Brexit.
On Monday, Switzerland and Britain are scheduled to sign an agreement which will the continuance of their trade on preferential terms post Brexit, said Britain’s trade department.
The move is aimed at protecting a trade relationship worth at least 32 billion pounds.
The formal signing of the deal, which has already been agreed upon and made public, is one of only handful of concrete steps Britain has taken to ensure that all the trade deals it currently benefits from as an EU member will continue once it leaves the bloc on March 29.
“Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the UK but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU,” said Britain’s International Trade minister Liam Fox in a statement.
The deal reflects Switzerland’s “mind the gap” strategy of ensuring seamless trade ties with Britain, regardless of whether London is able to strike and approve a formal exit agreement with Brussels by March 29, 2019.
In January, the British government stated, it expects to have most of the agreements it needs to replicate existing trade deals between the EU and third countries ready by the end of March.
A similar continuity agreement has been announced with Israel, and ‘mutual recognition’ deals have been agreed with Australia and New Zealand.
On Sunday, Carolyn Fairbairn, the head of the Confederation of British Industry stated, the “unfolding nightmare” of Brexit meant that major trade partners, including South Korea and Japan, were reluctant to sign deals until there is more clarity on future EU-Britain ties.
“It will be the decisions that businesses take about jobs and investment – and they will reduce them – so you have less potential to trade globally, that will mean less investment in the future and that will mean fewer jobs in the future,” said Fairbairn to Sky News.