Downing Street Plays Down Prospect Of Post-Brexit Trade Deal With US

No.10 dismissed claims Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden's meeting in Northern Ireland was being kept "low-key".
US President Joe Biden shakes hands with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month.
US President Joe Biden shakes hands with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month.
Leon Neal via Getty Images

Downing Street has played down the prospect of an imminent post-Brexit trade deal with the USA.

The Tory government’s promise of a free trade deal has been on ice since president Joe Biden took office.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson declared in 2019 the UK was “first in line” to do a “great free trade deal” with the United States.

Rishi Sunak is expected to meet the president when he touches down in Northern Ireland on Tuesday as part of a visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

No.10 dismissed suggestions that their meeting was “low-key” after the White House reportedly scaled back their interaction from a bilateral event to a less formal coffee meeting.

Asked if progress on a deal could be made during their meeting, a No.10 spokesman said: “A free trade agreement is not the only way of strengthening the UK-US trade relationship.

“We already have an incredibly good level of trade with the US which we’ve spoken about before. I believe it’s already worth £223 billion a year.

“Our focus is still on boosting American investments in the UK and increasing access to US markets for our businesses, and ultimately trying to secure lower prices for UK consumers.

“So we will continue to work with the US government but I’d also point to the fact that we’re also deepening our trade relationships with individual states.”

Asked why the plans for the two men appeared low-key, the spokesman replied: “I wouldn’t characterise it as that. As I’ve said the prime minister will see him tonight, he will see him again tomorrow.”

Sunak will hope his Windsor framework - a new post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland - will help remove barriers to US cooperation.


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