Liz Truss: UK seeking ‘rapid progress’ in US trade deal

Monday, March 2, 2020

Conservative MP Liz Truss has said the government is looking to make “rapid progress” in trade talks with the US, with negotiations set to begin within a month.

The International Trade Secretary told talkRADIO she was “not going to put a deadline” on achieving an agreement with the White House, but insisted “both sides are very committed”.

Boris Johnson pledged to “drive a hard bargain” as Ms Truss unveiled the UK’s objectives ahead of talks,.

The government said it wants to open up opportunities for British businesses and investors while also ensuring the NHS is not for sale via the desired free trade agreement.

It added it remains committed to keeping the NHS universal and free at the point of use, something which the Prime Minister was repeatedly pushed on during the general election.

Ms Truss told Julia Hartley-Brewer: “What we want to get is a great deal for businesses and consumers right across Britain, so we want to see tariffs reduced, we want to see it easier for small business in particular to export to the US and we also want better prices for UK consumers by cutting tariffs on goods coming in from the United States.”

She praised Britain’s “world class” negotiating teams in discussions with both the US and the EU, claiming that “all countries” want to export to the UK market.

But meanwhile, Labour has accused ministers of making “false promises” over commitments to protect the NHS and standards – Downing Street has also been urged by trade union leaders not to “cosy up” to President Donald Trump during the talks.

Critics have called on the Prime Minister to block any US manoeuvring to lower food standards, with concerns over chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef being imported from the US in any deal.

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