Britain is considering joining an existing trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada as hopes of a standalone deal after Brexit fade | Politics news


Ministers are considering efforts to join an existing free trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada – or close a series of mini-deals with America – after Boris Johnson apparently admitted that a standalone UK-US free trade agreement was not an immediate prospect.

On his visit to New York and Washington DC this week, the Prime Minister made no commitments to reaching a free trade agreement between Britain and America until the next federal election in 2024.

He has also admitted that US President Joe Biden has “a lot of fish to fry” when he downplayed the chances of an early deal between the two countries.

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Biden is concerned about the NI protocol

A senior government official has suggested that an alternative way to boost transatlantic trade could be for Britain to join the existing free trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada known as the USMCA.

Another option could be to pursue a number of smaller UK-US agreements on various issues, they added.

“There are different ways to do this, the ball in your field and to tango it takes two,” the source said.

When asked about the prospect of a US-UK trade deal, Mr Biden, while sitting next to Mr Johnson Tuesday night before a meeting at the White House, said, “We’re going to talk a little bit about trade today and we are that has to be worked through . “

And he didn’t reject former US President Barack Obama’s earlier suggestion that Britain would be “back in the queue” for a post-Brexit trade deal.

Mr Biden also warned that the post-Brexit agreements between the UK and the EU must not end in a “closed border” on the island of Ireland.

“I feel very strong about the (Northern Ireland) Protocols. We have put a tremendous amount of time and effort, the United States, it has been a great bipartisan effort,” he added.

“And I wouldn’t see any change in the Irish agreements at all, nor would I add that many of my Republican colleagues would like to see the Irish agreements changed, the end result would be a closed border in Ireland.”

The USMCA came into force last July and replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which former President Donald Trump vowed to replace when he took office.

The new Secretary of State Liz Truss is said to have raised the status of deadlocked trade negotiations between the United Kingdom and the United States at her meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday in New York.

In 2017, when Mr. Trump was US President, Mr. Johnson said Britain would be “first” for a post-Brexit trade deal with America.

But the Prime Minister now appears to be publicly admitting that Mr Biden’s administration is less interested in a deal being closed quickly.

“About the free trade area [free trade agreement]The reality is that Joe has a lot of fish to fry, “Mr Johnson told reporters who traveled with him to New York.

“He has a huge infrastructure package, he has a better dismantling package. We want to do it, but what we want is a good free trade agreement, a great free trade agreement.”

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In an interview with Sky News on Tuesday, asked if he would get a UK-US free trade agreement by the next general election, Mr Johnson said, “We will continue free trade deals around the world, including in the United States states.

“I have a lot of reasons to be optimistic. But the Americans negotiate very hard.”

Since leaving the EU, the UK government has made arrangements to renew the trade deals it previously signed with Mexico and Canada as part of its membership of the bloc.

Ministers also announced their intention to start talks this year on improved trade deals with the two countries in order to make the deals “better tailored to the UK economy”.

The EU does not have a free trade agreement with the US after talks on a proposed deal under Trump were halted and later broken off.

As part of the post-Brexit ability to pursue an independent trade policy, the UK government is also offering to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia , Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan.

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