No US trade deal on the horizon says UK prime minister ahead of Biden meeting

Published date20 September 2022
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
The new UK prime minister has said that talks were unlikely to start in the "medium term" as she travelled to New York on her first foreign trip since entering Downing Street

In a move likely to disappoint Brexiteers, she downplayed expectations that any trade agreement was imminent amid concerns that overpromising but then failing to get talks off the ground would damage her nascent administration.

On the plane to the US, Ms Truss said to reporters: "There aren't currently any negotiations taking place with the US and I don't have any expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term."

It is the first time the UK government has conceded there is virtually no chance of getting agreement on an early bilateral trade deal with the US, Britain's biggest trading partner, despite it being coveted by Brexit supporters as one of the big potential benefits of leaving the EU.

Instead, the new UK prime minister said her priorities would be joining the trans-Pacific trading partnership of 11 countries, including Australia, Canada and Singapore, as well as striking deals with the Gulf States and India.

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She said that her "number one" focus in talks with Mr Biden at the UN on Wednesday would be global security, especially working with the US and European partners to deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Ms Truss's relations with the US president have already been strained by her threats as foreign secretary to rip up the post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Mr Biden has warned that peace in the province should not be undermined by the row and has been reluctant to strike a trade deal with the UK as a result.

UK officials have tried to decouple the two issues and highlighted mini trade deals signed with individual states, including Indiana and North Carolina, to boost transatlantic trade.


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