The United Kingdom and the United States are starting negotiations on Tuesday for a new free trade agreement ahead of the post-Brexit transition period coming to an end.
Though the UK left the European Union at the end of January, it remains part of the EU customs union and single market (which allows for free movement of goods, people, services and capital) until the end of the year.
“The International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are launching negotiations via video conference call,” the British government said. “This first round of negotiations will last for approximately 2 weeks and will involve around 100 negotiators on each side,” they added.
“Talks will cover all areas set out in the UK’s negotiation objectives, including goods and services trade, digital trade, investment and supporting SMEs,” they clarified.
Trade between the two countries was worth £220.9 billion (€253 billion) last year. Exports to the United States accounted for nearly 20% of UK exports, according to a government report.
“We want to strike an ambitious deal that opens up new opportunities for our businesses, brings in more investment and creates better jobs for people across the whole of the country,” Liz Truss said.
The aim is to increase trade between the two countries by £15.3 billion in the long term, compared to 2018.
This first round of negotiations will be followed by others approximately every six weeks.
The Brussels Times