UK and US begin trade negotiations over Free Trade Agreement
The first round of negotiations between the UK and US over a proposed transatlantic Free Trade Agreement began yesterday. The International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will be initiating the discussions via video conference call. According to analyses, the accord would benefit very region and nation of the UK. Groundwork for this two-week round of talks has been set by the UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group who have met six times until present. These ambitious discussions will be overseen by a group of 100 negotiators on each side and focus on objectives surrounding goods and services trade, digital trade, investment and supporting SMEs.
Following on from this round, talks will be held every six weeks using video technology to ensure social distancing guidance is respected and health and safety of staff is assured. It is hoped that increasing trade interaction between the two nations will aid the recovery of economies from the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. A dedicated chapter to help the UK’s 5.9 million small businesses is a key element of the proposed text. Also, from the UK perspective, maintaining the NHS is an important stand-point, along with keeping the high standards placed on food safety and animal welfare. “We want to strike an ambitious deal that opens up new opportunities for our businesses, brings in more investment and creates better jobs for people across the whole of the country”, commented Liz Truss. A summary report of the first round of talks will be published by the Government so that discussions are transparent and accessible to the public.
BIVDA are involved in the ETAG group, feeding into officials and Ministers over priorities for our sector and will continue to monitor developments - the next meeting is scheduled for next month but may be brought forward given the swift pace of these talks. We will continue to keep members updated.