International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch
First-of-its-kind UK-Italy trade deal to increase UK exports, especially in high-performing sectors like life science, tech and digital. Niklas HALLE'N/Reuters

Britain's efforts to ease post-Brexit trade relations with the EU got a major boost last week as the UK government signed its first partnership with an EU nation.

The new agreement signed between the UK and Italy seeks to improve UK exports and create more job opportunities within the country which in turn will boost the UK's economic growth.

On September 11, the Department for International Trade announced that Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch had signed the UK-Italy export and investment partnership deal.

The deal signed by Italian Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani and the UK trade secretary in Rome is the first partnership agreement between the UK and any EU country. The UK government signed the deal intending to boost Italy-UK trade by over £43 billion. Through this partnership, investment and export links between the two countries will be enhanced.

As part of the deal, UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch will co-chair the first UK-Italy CEO Forum along with Italian Minister for Enterprises and Made in Italy Adolfo Urso. The forum will unite businessmen from both countries under one roof and showcase the UK's potential as a top investment destination.

This first-of-its-kind meeting will see the Trade Secretary discussing UK's top trade priorities including trade barriers and Britain's position as an investment destination in Europe. The UK government wants to level up the country by attracting new investments through this forum.

The UK-Italy Forum will also make it possible to interact with major Italian investors and draw their attention towards innovations in the UK. The aim is to connect with companies like the Italian energy company ENI, wind turbine business ACT Blade etc.

This trip to Rome was the first overseas visit of Kemi Badenoch since she became Trade Secretary. Earlier in February she spoke about the importance of economic security at the 30th anniversary of the Pontignano Forum which is the biggest platform for Italian and British business leaders.

Stress on enhancing UK exports in tech and science fields

The UK-Italy partnership seeks to enhance trade in certain high-performing sectors including science and tech. The UK government seeks to attract inward investment in low-carbon industries like Carbon Capture Storage and Offshore Wind through this deal. Boosting UK exports in the Life Sciences, Digital and Tech sectors is the primary objective of this partnership.

This is part of the UK government's efforts to recognise the economic growth potential of these sectors and comes at a time when Britain rejoined the European science and tech collaboration programme Horizon Europe.

According to the International Trade Department, the agreement with Italy highlights Britain's capabilities as an independent trade nation which can crack comprehensive trade deals with new markets. It solidifies the UK's position as an essential trade partner in the G7 and Europe.

Speaking about the new partnership, Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: that the deal shows the independent UK's ability to strike ambitious trade agreements and how the country can benefit from it.

The Trade Secretary called the partnership "a significant milestone" in Britain's trade relations with the EU.

The UK government has set a target of £1 trillion goods and services annual sales revenue from this partnership which seeks to boost investment and trade between British and Italian businesses. The aim is to achieve this target by the end of this decade, revealed Badenoch.

Britain and Italy both feature in the top 10 global economies and the UK is the 11th largest trading partner of Italy accounting for over £43 billion trade revenue.

According to the government, most UK exports to Italy are cars which constitutes 10.1 per cent of all UK goods exported to Italy. Britain generates £932.5 million from car exports to Italy followed by £507.7 million generated from mechanical power generators.

Italy came sixth in UK Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) sources in 2020-21.