Boris Johnson admits set-back in securing a US trade deal
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Washington officials have slammed the brakes on a free trade deal with Brexit Britain – and talks will not resume until next year. International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan travelled across the Atlantic last week and lobbied for the removal of expensive metal tariffs – but the US has so far refused despite suspending the levies for the EU in October.
Many hoped the visit could help pave the way for a wider trade deal after agreements on British beef, lamb and Scotch Whiskey were finalised earlier this year.
Ben Harris-Quinney, a former economic and foreign policy advisor, has hit out at the Biden-administration for frustrating the process.
The chair of the conservative think-tank The Bow Group told Express.co.uk: “Joe Biden has made it very clear that he sees the EU as his primary ally, and has returned to the Obama era policy of placing Britain at the back of the queue.
“Biden does not want Brexit to be a success, and a good US trade deal would be a big part of that success.
“It will not be easy even to progress a deal with Biden at all, but it will be even harder now to get us a good deal that offers a competitive advantage against the EU.”
The US President has previously been very critical of Brexit and said he would not have voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum if he was British.
The 78-year-old, who is of Irish heritage, also warned there would be no trade deal if the Good Friday Agreement was not adhered to following concerns over the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol.
Washington indicated it would favour a relationship with Europe in October, when a deal was struck to remove EU tariffs on limited volumes of steel and aluminium.
Former US President Donald Trump had slapped a 25 percent levy on steel and 10 percent on aluminium.
The regulatory measures remain in place for UK exporters and British firms face being at a disadvantage.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai hailed the new relationship with Europe and said the deal had averted over $20billion in tariffs.
She said: “We have taken significant steps to transform the nature of the tone of our relationship with Europe.
“And we’ve done it without stepping back or being soft on defending our economic rights.”
Ms Tai, who held formal discussion with the International Trade Secretary in the capital, confirmed the US was still assessing its relationship with UK following Brexit and gave a bizarre analogy.
She said: “You know, maybe we all have this experience in life. When you have friends who are couples and they split up right? You have to realign your relationships a little bit.”
Ms Trevelyan said talks would resume again in January and has invited US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to London.
In a joint statement after the meeting, Britain and the US 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”.
Trade minister Penny Mordaunt is currently on the last legs of her multi-state tour of the US and has urged the Biden-administration to take full advantage of Brexit.
Speaking at the World Affairs Council in Atlanta, Ms Mordaunt said: “The most critical partner for us is the US.
“For the US to wait to seize this opportunity would be to all our detriment, but also to its own. You need to increase opportunities for business and attract investment.”
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