Last reviewed 21 May 2020

In sharp contrast to the gloomy reactions from both sides to the latest round of negotiations between the UK and the EU (see EU-UK trade talks in danger of delay), trade talks with the United States seem to have got off to a good start.

According to the Department for International Trade (DIT), both teams are hopeful that negotiations for a comprehensive trade agreement can proceed at an accelerated pace.

Negotiations over the past two weeks were conducted virtually, it noted, but proceeded efficiently, with UK and US negotiators participating in extensive discussions in nearly 30 different negotiating groups covering all aspects of an agreement.

Among the areas for discussion were Trade Remedies, Rules of Origin, Market Access for Goods, Technical Barriers to Trade, Procurement, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Customs.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Ambassador Lighthizer and I agreed that a second virtual round will take place in the weeks of 15 and 22 June and that, in advance of that, negotiating teams will continue their work and meet virtually on a rolling basis, with meetings continuing throughout this week and beyond.”

In the same manner as this negotiating round, discussions in the second round will cover all areas to be included in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Preparatory work makes it possible for the UK and United States to quickly advance negotiations in a number of substantive areas that will shape our future bilateral trade relationship, Ms Truss concluded.

United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said: “Speaking for the American side, we look forward to getting underway, to hard work, and hopefully a successful outcome that makes workers, farmers, and businessmen in both our countries more prosperous and happier.”