Obviously, it's most fun to see countries lining up to discuss trade agreements for the post-Brexit period. A bit of a turn up for the books after we'd been told that no one would ever trade with us again and we would be left bereft on our rainy little island.
However, we do think this is being done the wrong way:
The Business Secretary begins a round the world tour of Britain’s key trading partners today , as he flies to India with a view to forging new links across the globe after the EU referendum.
Sajid Javid will land in Delhi to begin preliminary trade talks with the world’s second most populous market, meeting with finance and industry ministers to outline what a future trading relationship between the two markets might look like.
We do not in fact want to have trade treaties nor bilateral agreements. Nor do we want to negotiate terms and conditions with people. For as we all know the only logical trade stance to have is one of unconditional and unilateral free trade. The whole aim of the game is to gain access to those lovely things that foreigners can make better or cheaper than we can. This is obviously something entirely under out control, we can simply not place barriers in the way of our getting those things. Thus that is what we should be doing.
Britain's future trade treaty, and it is "a" not a "series of", is thus very simple:
1) We will have no tariffs or quotas on any imports. Imports will be subject to exactly the same regulation as domestic production.
2) You can do what you like.
There's somewhere between 192 countries and 250 or so legal jurisdictions out there. Given modern communications systems it shouldn't be difficult to get that signed off by all of them by Monday fortnight. And the joy of unilateral free trade is that it doesn't matter whether they all sign on or even that none of them do. We will still be gaining all the benefit of free trade ourselves simply by sticking to those rules ourselves.
As Patrick Minford has been pointing out, at length, for a decade now.