Against all odds, Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a trade agreement with the EU at the end of December 2020, after nine months of fraught negotiations. The deal was without a doubt a huge triumph for the Prime Minister, who in 2019 had won a thumping majority at the general election with the promise “to get Brexit done”. Many are wondering whether he will now be able to pull a similar move with the US – as the former Mayor of London had put an agreement with Washington at the heart of his plans to revive Britain after Brexit.
The election of Democratic President Joe Biden undoubtedly complicated things for him.
The new President made clear he would not be prioritising a deal with the UK.
Instead, Mr Biden is adopting a similar “America First” policy as former President Donald Trump, fighting “like hell” to invest in US firms and employees.
However, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk a UK government trade adviser, who wishes to remain anonymous, has insisted there is still an appetite for a trade partnership with the UK in the US.
The adviser said: “Anytime there is a change of presidency, regardless of the new President’s views, there is always a shift into domestic affairs.
“Inevitably, it slows things down for everything else but there is an appetite for a deal with the UK in the US… particularly in sectors such as agriculture and financial services.”
The adviser added: “What you’ll probably see is a series of deals.
“Not a fully fledged trade agreement but a series of mini deals.
“You could have mutual recognition for a whole bunch of different areas in conformity assessment in regards to different products
“The US and the UK could go a lot further on financial services equivalence-type arrangements where London and Washington trust regulators of each other much more so than anywhere else in the world.
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Former US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the outgoing EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan said in a joint statement: “We intend for this package of tariff reductions to mark just the beginning of a process that will lead to additional agreements that create more free, fair, and reciprocal transatlantic trade,”
Mr Hogan wrote on his Twitter account that the pact “will increase market access for hundreds of millions of dollars in US and EU exports”.
He added: “We have a deal.
“The EU and the US have agreed on a significant tariff reduction, the first in more than 20 years.
“The agreement eliminates or reduces tariffs for €168million (£150m) in EU and US exports.”
Referring to the agreement Brussels reached with the Trump administration at the time, Sam Lowe, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, wrote on Twitter: “When I’ve been saying the UK and US could do a mini trade deal this year, this is the sort of thing I was talking about.”
Congressmen were hoping the US and the UK would tie up a groundbreaking deal expected to be worth billions this year.
However, in order to have been fast-tracked through Congress by Mr Biden, an agreement would have had to be struck by July 1.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the UK was focused on getting the “right deal” with the US rather than clinching a quick one.
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