UK will not 'compromise' on US trade negotiations as key conversations begin

The UK today set out its mandate for the next stage of the Brexit trade negotiations with the European Union, warning that if an agreement cannot be reached within four months, no deal is back on the table.

The Department for International Trade on Monday also published its aims for the talks, which are a priority for Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, after he led Britain out of the European Union to seek trade deals around the world, citing a US accord as a key prize of Brexit.

The UK trade plan has called on the US to end tariffs on steel and to drop the punitive levies on items such as Scotch whisky introduced after the World Trade Organisation’s ruling on government subsidies to Airbus SE.

It also set red lines that reflect British concerns about a deal with the Trump administration, saying the running of the National Health Service(NHS) and the price it pays for medicines will not be up for discussion.

Meanwhile, Britain wants “liberalised market access for trade in goods” with no tariffs, fees, charges or quotas on manufactured or agricultural goods.

Where British voters expressed concern about US practices including washing chicken in chlorine, the document said: “We will not compromise on our high standards of food safety and animal welfare.” Negotiations are expected to begin this month.

Financial services currently make up more than 20% of UK services exports to the US and the UK wants “best-in-class” rules on financial services market access.

The US accounts for less than 15% of Britain’s cross-border commerce in goods, while the EU accounts for about 45% of Britain’s merchandise trade. In services trade, the EU accounts for about 43% versus the US, with 21%.

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