Home » Politics » Ed Balls talks down UK-US trade deal chances ‘I’d be very surprised’
Ed Balls talks down UK-US trade deal chances ‘I’d be very surprised’
January 21, 2021
Joe Biden: UK free trade agreement is ‘not priority’ says Ed Balls
The formerLabourpolitician said that Liz Truss, the UK’s International Trade Secretary, would struggle to broker a post-Brexit trade agreement with the new White House as securing one is not a top priority for President Joe Biden. Ms Trusshad previously indicated her intent to sign atrade dealwith the US this year but Mr Balls made clear in his view such a pact would not be forthcoming, especially in the early years of the Biden presidency.
On a potential free trade deal with the US, he told ITV’s Robert Peston: “I’d be very surprised if Liz Truss has any chance of negotiating a free trade agreement with America in the next couple of years.
“It’s not going to be a priority for the Joe Biden presidency… For exactly these complicated bilateral issues.”
The last round of formal negotiations with the US ended on October 30, 2020.
Following that date, the UK had hoped to secure a series of mini deals with Donald Trump’s administration in order to push forward with a Free Trade Agreement in 2021.
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On Wednesday, Simon Hoare, chair of the Northern Ireland select committee and North Dorset MP told the Express.co.uk that a trade deal with Mr Biden may not be agreed in 2021.
Despite the desperate need of a deal with the US, Mr Hoare admitted the “steam has gone out” of plans for an agreement this year.
He added: “I’m not sure on a trade deal will be agreed this year.
“It does seem quite a bit of the steam has dropped out about the US-UK trade deal talks.”
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He did, however, add that the relationship between the President-elect and Mr Johnson may spark progress in other initiatives which will be the launchpad to a future treaty.
Mr Hoare said: “A trade is something nice to have.
My view is that we must protect our food and agricultural standards in any deal we do.
“I would’ve thought the two leaders will use the areas of which they agree as the launchpad to progress other initiatives of which a trade deal is one.”
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In December, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had claimed talks had progressed and was hopeful of producing a partial agreement before President-elect Joe Biden, was inaugurated.
It was hoped agreements could be made on Scotch whisky and cashmere imports after tariffs on Boeing imports were lifted by the UK.
The UK’s Trade Department made the move to lift tariffs on Boeing aeroplane imports in order to bring the US to the negotiating table.
The tariffs had been in place for 16-years and relate to a dispute between the US and EU over subsidies given out to Boeing and Airbus respectively.