The UK says leaders have discussed “the benefits of a possible free trade deal,” but the US statement makes no mention of it.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joseph Biden have different opinions on the prospects for a trade deal between their respective countries, as Johnson becomes the first EU leader to receive a phone call since Biden’s inauguration .
The UK’s statement on the call, which covered issues such as strengthening bilateral relations, collective defense and tackling climate change, also mentioned discussions on “the benefits of a possible free-trade agreement. exchange between our two countries ”. A statement released by the White House did not mention any discussion of trade.
Reaching a new trade deal with the United States now that the UK has left the European Union is a top priority for Johnson, who seeks to reshape Britain’s global relations and showcase the benefits of ‘an independent trade policy from the EU. The United States is already the UK’s largest trading partner, with trade between the two worth £ 221 billion ($ 302 billion) in 2019, according to UK government data.
Narrow window of time closing for swift resolution of trade deal: Biden needs Senate to confirm Katherine Tai, his choice to be US trade representative, and also faces expiration of negotiating power expedited trade delegated to the President by Congress. This capacity, known as the Trade Promotion Authority, expires on July 1 and Biden is expected to be close enough to a deal to notify Congress by April 1.
The prospect of a trade pact with the United States has been politically controversial in Britain, due to concerns such as the United Kingdom opening up its markets to American agricultural products which may have to lower welfare standards. animal. Outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in December that access for U.S. farmers would be an important part of any deal.
A trade deal with the United States may also bring limited benefits to Johnson’s Britain. The UK government’s own impact assessment of a deal said it would increase long-term GDP by 0.16%, provided there is full tariff liberalization and a 50% cut non-tariff measures. Leaving the EU with a tight trade deal – as Johnson agreed on Dec. 24 – is expected to reduce long-term GDP growth by 4%, according to the Office of Fiscal Responsibility.
The UK Department for International Trade has said talks with the US are at “advanced stages” and are on track to a “comprehensive deal”.
“Continuous technical discussions have taken place between officials to ensure that both sides are well positioned to move forward as the new administration begins its work,” the DIT said in a statement.
Trade issues aside, Biden has pledged to work closely with Johnson as the UK hosts both the G-7 and the UN climate change conference this year, according to a statement from the White House.
Johnson “warmly welcomed” Biden’s decision to get the United States to adhere to the Paris Agreement on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, abandoned by President Donald Trump. He also praised Biden for renewed US support for the World Health Organization and the Covax program to support the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
The two leaders also expressed their support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and shared values of promoting human rights, the UK statement said.