Liz Truss: UK will not strike free trade deal with US for years

21 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Liz Truss: UK will not strike free trade deal with US for years

eBusiness Weekly

The UK will not strike a free trade deal with America for many years, Liz Truss has conceded.

In a significant admission that one of the most heralded prizes of Brexit is now unlikely to transpire, the new prime minister said that talks with the US would not even start in the “medium term”.

As international trade secretary, Truss was responsible for preparing the ground for a deal with the US once the UK left the EU in January 2020. Under Truss’s leadership the Department for International Trade published 184 pages of negotiating objectives in March 2020, and talks began in May that year. Some progress was made but not in the most contentious areas such as agriculture.

Any remaining momentum behind a deal dissipated after President Biden succeeded Donald Trump in January last year.

Speaking to reporters on her way to New York for the United Nations general assembly, where she will meet Biden tomorrow, Truss told reporters: “There isn’t currently any negotiation taking place with the US and I don’t have an expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term.”

She said that instead her priorities for trade were “getting CPTPP accession, getting a trade deal with India, getting a trade deal with the GCC.”

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) grouping includes Australia, Canada and Japan among others and is one of the world’s largest trading blocs. The agreement was originally envisaged to include the United States as well, but Trump pulled out in 2018 before it was signed.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) numbers Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and is the European Union’s sixth largest export market.

Truss’s acceptance that a UK-US trade deal is unlikely marks a major change in both the government’s rhetoric and hers personally. In March 2020 she said that a free trade deal with the US would secure a “£15.3 billion increase in bilateral trade and a £3.4 billion lift to the economy”.

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