Finance, farming are focus of UK-US trade talks, says Fox
London, UK - Removing commercial barriers with the US could generate an additional £40bn in trade with the UK by 2030, Britain’s Trade Secretary Liam Fox said on Sunday as he warned that reaching a deal won’t be easy.
Fox, in Washington for preliminary talks on a post-Brexit US trade agreement, said the projected economic gain is based on recent government calculations. Economists and trade specialists say any deal will be hard to de- liver, since the Americans have more experience and could bulldoze the UK on issues such as agricultural and financial regulation.
“It will be a difficult discussion, but we’ve got great support from the United States and the administration,” Fox said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. “Agriculture’s always a very difficult issue” but “we’ll want to look at a whole range of other things, on financial services for example, and other parts of the service economy,” he said.
The UK is already viewing a pact as a way for London-based banks to secure easy access to Wall Street, which might require the UK to accept weaker rules on financial services less than a decade after global financial markets collapsed. The US also could demand looser sanitary rules on food, such as allowing hormone-treated beef to be sold in Britain.
Many businesses have urged the government to set a transi- tion period to any new relationship once the allotted time for exit talks is completed in March 2019.
“I don’t think that there’s any great ideological blockage on the concept of a transition or an implementation period,” Fox said, backing away from a position he took two weeks ago. It could be as long as 23 or 25 months, he said, and the UK should be allowed to negotiate new trade deals during that time.