Andrew Marr grills US Ambassador on UK-US trade deal
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Washington and London have concluded the latest round of trade discussions without a significant breakthrough and talks will not resume until January. International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan travelled across the Atlantic last week – and ahead of the trip spoke about the “huge opportunities to deepen the trading links benefiting communities on both sides of the Atlantic”.
UK officials had hoped to build on a series of mini-deals secured earlier in the year, including on British beef, lamb and Scotch Whiskey.
Ms Trevelyan had also pushed for the removal of expensive tariffs on steel and aluminium – which the US suspended for the EU in October – but the Biden administration has so far refused to make the same concession for UK exporters.
Ben Harris-Quinney, a former foreign policy and economic adviser, has insisted if the UK takes a firmer stance then these obstacles can be overcome.
The chair of The Bow Group think-tank added Britain must also stress the relationship between the countries is not a one-way street.
He told Express.co.uk: “The US rely on us for a great deal, and that reliance needs to be more strongly leveraged.
“There are many other potential partners in the world also, and the UK needs to be a lot more realistic about working with nations that may be very different to ours, but offer potential economic benefit.
“We have a longstanding alliance with the US which I hope will always be there, but we need to remind Biden why that is.
“For him to show the EU favour over us doesn’t currently reflect that.
“If the UK can be a bit tougher and a bit smarter however, it is certainly possible to advance to a point where these hurdles can be overcome, and a trade deal that reflects the special relationship achieved.”
Tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium were removed in limited volumes for the EU in October.
The levies were introduced by former US President Donald Trump in 2018 and remain in place for UK firms despite threats of retaliation from the International Trade Secretary.
Speaking in Washington, Ms Trevelyan said: “We have been clear all along that resolving this dispute is the right thing to do.
“It will benefit workers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, and would remove the need for the UK to levy retaliatory tariffs on US goods.”
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai agreed to discuss the issue further but refused to make any concrete commitments.
Ms Trevelyan confirmed negotiations would resume again in January and has invited US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to London.
A joint statement said the two officials discussed “finding a path early in the new year”.
It added the UK and US would “engage expeditiously in consultations on steel and aluminium, with a view to combating global excess capacity and addressing outstanding concerns on US tariffs and UK countermeasures”.
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