Free trade agreements (FTAs) have been a contentious topic in global politics for years. From the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), these agreements have shaped the global economy and trade relations between nations. But what is the current state of play with regards to FTAs?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on global trade and has further exposed the fragility of global supply chains. As a result, many countries are reevaluating their trade policies and looking for ways to secure their domestic industries. This has led to a slowdown in FTA negotiations, as many countries prioritize domestic concerns over international trade deals.

In the United States, the Trump administration withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and renegotiated NAFTA, resulting in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The Biden administration has signaled a renewed interest in FTAs, but it remains to be seen which agreements the United States will pursue.

In the European Union, negotiations for a free trade agreement with the United States (TTIP) ended in 2016. The EU has since focused on negotiating FTAs with other countries, such as Japan, Mercosur, and Vietnam.

The United Kingdom has signed post-Brexit trade deals with countries such as Japan, Canada, and Singapore. However, negotiations with the European Union for a trade agreement have been complicated by issues related to Northern Ireland.

In Asia, negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) were concluded in 2020, creating the world`s largest free trade area. The RCEP includes 15 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

Overall, the state of play with regards to FTAs is complicated. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed negotiations, and countries are increasingly focused on domestic concerns. However, FTAs remain an important tool for promoting global trade and economic growth. As such, it is likely that negotiations for new FTAs will resume once the pandemic is under control.