Ministers are contemplating efforts to affix an present free commerce settlement between the US, Mexico and Canada – or to strike a sequence of mini-deals with America – after Boris Johnson appeared to confess a standalone UK-US free commerce deal was not an imminent prospect.
On his go to to New York and Washington DC this week, the prime minister has did not decide to securing a free commerce settlement between Britain and America by the point of the following common election in 2024.
He has additionally acknowledged that US President Joe Biden has “numerous fish to fry” as he performed down the probabilities of an settlement being struck quickly between the 2 international locations.
A senior authorities determine has steered that an alternate path to boosting trans-Atlantic commerce might be the UK becoming a member of the present free commerce settlement between the US, Mexico and Canada, often called USMCA.
Another choice might be pursuing a sequence of smaller UK-US offers on separate points, they added.
“There are alternative ways to do that, the ball of their courtroom and it takes two to tango,” the supply stated.
The USMCA settlement got here into impact in July final 12 months and changed the North American Free Commerce Settlement (NAFTA), which former president Donald Trump had vowed to exchange on taking workplace.
New Overseas Secretary Liz Truss is alleged to have raised the stalled UK-US commerce negotiations throughout her assembly with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on Monday.
Again in 2017, when Mr Trump was US president, Mr Johnson had stated the UK can be “first in line” for a post-Brexit commerce settlement with America.
However the prime minister has now appeared to publicly acknowledge that Mr Biden’s administration is much less eager on a deal being struck shortly.
“On the FTA [free trade agreement], the fact is that Joe has numerous fish to fry,” Mr Johnson advised reporters travelling with him to New York.
“He is acquired an enormous infrastructure bundle, he is acquired a construct again higher bundle. We wish to do it, however what we would like is an efficient FTA, a fantastic FTA.”
Requested in an interview with Sky Information on Tuesday whether or not he would get a UK-US free commerce deal by the point of the following common election, Mr Johnson stated: “We’ll preserve going with free commerce offers world wide, together with in the US.
“I’ve loads of cause to be optimistic about that. However the Individuals do negotiate very onerous.”
Since leaving the EU, the UK authorities has struck agreements to rollover these commerce offers it beforehand loved with Mexico and Canada as a part of its membership of the bloc.
Ministers additionally introduced their intention to start talks on upgraded commerce offers with the 2 international locations this 12 months, to ensure that the agreements to be “higher tailor-made to the UK economic system”.
The EU doesn’t have a free commerce settlement with the US after talks on a proposed settlement had been halted underneath Mr Trump, earlier than later being deserted.
As a part of the post-Brexit capability to pursue an impartial commerce coverage, the UK authorities can be bidding to affix the Complete and Progressive Settlement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a free commerce settlement between Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan.