Brexiteer and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said U.S. President Donald Trump is “very keen” to agree on a trade deal with the UK after Brexit.
The statement comes as Dr Fox hosts a series of trade events on board HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK’s new supercarrier, in New York City’s harbour on Monday.
The events aim “to secure trading ties between UK and U.S. businesses”, he said, as well as announcing a new a sub-committee of the Board of Trade which will look at cyber technology and how the UK and U.S. can collaborate to tackle online threats.
Trade between the UK and the U.S. totalled £180.6 billion in the year to June 2018, making the U.S. the UK’s largest single nation trading partner and export market, the UK’s trade department said.
Stuck inside the European Union and its Customs Union, the UK has been unable to strike a trade deal with the U.S.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced last week the UK is not likely to leave the union for a year after the Brexit “transition period” – nearly four years after the Brexit vote.
Dr Fox MP commented: “The United States is one of our closest allies, our largest single bilateral trading partner and we will see that bond continue to strengthen as we leave the European Union.
“This ‘trade day’ will see some of the UK’s most innovative businesses meeting their U.S. counterparts as we continue to combat growing overseas cyber threats together.
“My international economic department is currently consulting on the potential of a future free trade agreement with the U.S., and I would strongly encourage British businesses and the public to make the most of this opportunity to share their thoughts on what this deal should include.”
An icon of freedom looks over a protector of freedom.
— HMS Queen Elizabeth (@HMSQnlz) October 22, 2018
Antony Phillipson, the UK’s trade commissioner for North America, wrote: “This is an incredible opportunity: not only to demonstrate the strength of the UK-U.S. relationship, but to build meaningful bridges between companies in key sectors.
“The U.S. and UK have long been partners at sea; the Anglo-American Shipping Collaboration during the Second World War saw millions of tonnes of supplies imported into the UK on U.S. ships, protected by Royal Navy vessels.
“Our militaries do more together than any two countries in the world, and our mutually-supportive cooperation enables us to operate together, and in wider alliances, around the world in the interests of global security.”
Big day in the big 🍎, with @LiamFox & @tradegovukUSA hosting series of trade events on @HMSQnlz including a #CyberSecurity roundtable & first #BoardofTrade awards in 🇺🇸. All part of building future #prosperity partnerships- read more 👉
— Antony Phillipson (@AJPhillipson) October 22, 2018
Speaking to the BBC, Dr Fox added that he believes the UK is in a strong position to strengthen the bond with the U.S., due in part to the close military ties between the two countries.
“Our trade relationship is part of a wider relationship,” he said. “There is a unique relationship with the United States.”
Maritime UK Chairman, David Dingle, said: “The UK and U.S. have a strength of relationship like few others – based upon freedom, trade and prosperity.
“With the U.S. being the largest single nation trading partner for the UK, it is logical that we proactively recommit ourselves to boosting that trading relationship and our maritime partnership.”
He added: “We are looking forward to strengthening our special relationship, and will welcome a U.S. delegation to the UK to join us for London International Shipping Week in 2019.”