Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that a new trade deal with the United States will result in greater choice and cheaper prices for consumers at the supermarket, with a government assessment saying that it will provide a “£3.4 billion boost” to the British economy.
The government announced on Monday the details of its “ambitious and comprehensive” trade negotiations agenda, with the Conservative government’s analysis also saying that it will increase Anglo-American trade by £15.3 billion.
Prime Minister Johnson said on Sunday night: “We have the best negotiators in the business and of course, we’re going to drive a hard bargain to boost British industry. Trading Scottish smoked salmon for Stetson hats, we will deliver lower prices and more choice for our shoppers.
“Most importantly, this transatlantic trade deal will reflect the unique closeness of our two great nations.”
Manufacturers of cars and ceramics and food and drink producers are set to be some of the biggest beneficiaries from the elimination of U.S. tariffs, according to the government’s briefing document. Professional service providers including architects and lawyers are also set to benefit.
In line with Johnson’s ongoing theme to spread prosperity around the whole United Kingdom, particularly to the Labour strongholds in the North that lent the Tories their vote, the government said: “The agreement will deliver for the whole United Kingdom, with Scotland, the North East and the Midlands forecast to benefit most from removing barriers to trade with the U.S.”
Small and medium businesses are also set to benefit from a good deal, with the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry, saying his organisation’s “research shows that the United States is the number one individual country that UK small businesses are looking to as they consider where to trade, with 46 per cent of UK SME [small and medium enterprise] exporters prioritising the US market over the next three years.
“This shows the sheer scale of ambition that will be unleashed, if we can take full advantage of the opportunities a Free Trade Agreement will open up.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 27, 2020
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said on Monday morning that Britain is looking to make “rapid progress” in trade talks, confirming that negotiations with Washington are set to take place within a month.
“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 U.S. and we also want better prices for UK consumers by cutting tariffs on goods coming in from the United States,” Ms Truss told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer.
The UK is also set to begin negotiations with other countries, including Australia and New Zealand. Minister for the Americas Wendy Morton was dispatched to Latin America on Sunday, with meetings this week in Uruguay and Argentina where she will discuss trade.
Government insiders and the American ambassador to the UK have urged Johnson and his negotiators to use U.S. and other trade deals as leverage in similar trade negotiations with Brussels, which is demanding the UK stay aligned with EU rules and hand over fishing rights to EU fishermen in order to secure a deal.
France’s Europe minister, Amélie de Montchalin, said on British media on Sunday that UK-EU trade negotiations could collapse if the UK refuses to let European fishermen have continued access to British waters, with The Times reporting that the government has been told that it could also result in a cross-English Channel blockade by French fishing boats.
Britain is preparing to stand firm on its negotiating red lines, however, with the UK preparing to walk away without a deal if, by June, a “broad outline” is not made.
The government document on its negotiating strategy with the EU says: “If that does not seem to be the case at the June meeting, the Government will need to decide whether the UK’s attention should move away from negotiations and focus solely on continuing domestic preparations to exit the transition period in orderly fashion.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 29, 2020