The UK has signed a continuity free-trade agreement with Vietnam the day after it penned a deal with Singapore.
The Singapore deal protects trade that was worth £17.6bn last year while the Vietnam agreement protects £5.7bn of trade, the government said.
Trade secretary Liz Truss, who is in south east Asia, said: “Both these agreements are vital for the UK’s future as an independent trading nation.
“This will play to the UK’s strengths, as we become a hub for tech and digital trade with influence far beyond our shores, defining our role in the world for decades to come.”
Continuity free-trade agreements replicate the deals that the UK had with countries as an EU member.
The agreements come after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there is a “strong possibility” that the UK will not sign a free-trade deal with the EU. The UK’s budget watchdog has warned that such an exit could knock two per cent off GDP next year.
Government races to sign trade deals
A key part of the UK’s economic strategy upon leaving the EU is trying to sign major free-trade deals with other countries.
High profile agreements include the deal with Japan, signed in October. The UK has also signed a raft of other deals that roll over existing EU trade arrangements.
The government billed the Vietnam and Singapore trade deals as helping the UK’s case for joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
“Both economies are founding members [of the deal] and have publicly shown their support for the UK acceding to this fast-growing trade bloc,” the Trade department said. “Joining would provide British businesses with an unparalleled gateway to the Pacific region.”
The UK has now secured trade deals with 57 countries that account for £193bn of UK bilateral trade.
However, economists say the damage from a no-deal Brexit would far outweigh the benefits from these deals.