In some circumstances, trade negotiations with a trading partner have been concluded, but have not yet been signed or ratified. This means that, although the negotiations are over, no part of the agreement is yet in force. When EU trade agreements are in force, the content of the UK and THE EU will apply to the rules of origin of EU trade agreements until 31 December 2020. Unlike a customs union, parties to a free trade agreement do not hold common external tariffs, i.e. different tariffs, or other policies concerning non-members. This function allows non-parties to free themselves as part of a free trade agreement by entering the market with the lowest external tariffs. Such a risk requires the introduction of rules for determining which products originate may be preferred under a free trade agreement, which is not necessary for the establishment of a customs union.  In principle, there is a minimum processing time leading to a “substantial processing” of the products, so they can be considered original products. By the definition of products originating in the PTA, the preferential rules of origin distinguish between domestic and non-origin products: only the former are eligible for preferential tariffs provided by the ESTV, which must pay the import duties of the MFN.
 As an EU member state, the UK was part of its trading system – the customs union and the internal market. This meant that there were no tariffs on goods traded between the two and that there was a minimum of border controls. Table “Signed Trade Agreements,” updated with the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics A free trade agreement aims to promote trade, usually in trade in goods, but also sometimes in the services sector, by making it cheaper. This is often achieved by reducing or eliminating so-called tariffs – taxes or taxes on cross-border trade. Since WTO members are required to communicate their free trade agreements to the secretariat, this database is based on the official source of information on free trade agreements (called the WTO-language regional trade agreement). The database allows users to obtain information on trade agreements that are communicated to the WTO by country or theme (goods, services or goods and services).