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The third, fourth, and fifth rounds of UK-US free trade agreement negotiations took place in August, September, and October 2020 respectively.

By the end of the third round, most chapter areas had moved into the advanced stages of talks. In August 2020, in parallel to the third round of talks, UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss also made a brief visit to Washington to meet with her counterpart, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. In between rounds three and four, the UK and US also exchanged their first tariff offers, which allowed meaningful market access discussions to take place during the fourth round in September. The fifth round took place in October, concluding shortly before the US presidential elections. By the end of the fifth round, a significant proportion of legal text had been agreed across multiple chapters. Both sides agreed a programme for continued talks at official level for the weeks following the U.S. election.

On 10 November, following the US election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with President-elect Joe Biden. They discussed the close and longstanding UK-US relationship and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead, in areas such as trade and security. The Prime Minister and President-elect spoke about working closely together on their shared priorities, from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy, and building back better from the coronavirus pandemic. During the call, Prime Minister Johnson invited President-elect Biden to attend the COP26 climate change summit that the UK will host in Glasgow in November 2021. They also look forward to seeing each other in person, including when the UK hosts the G7 Summit later this year.

On 24 December, the Prime Minister announced that the UK had reached a deal with the European Union on their future relationship. It is the first free trade agreement the EU has ever reached based on zero tariffs and zero quotas; UK businesses will be able to continue to trade smoothly, selling to their customers in the EU.  From financial services to automotive manufacturing, the deal protects high quality jobs and investment across the UK. The E.U.-U.K. Joint Committee also reached agreement in December, ensuring that Northern Ireland’s place within the U.K. and its economic future are protected in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.

As Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Post in December: “… we look forward to the next chapter in our history. We will be resolute in defending open societies, promoting global trade and standing up for those values we have always championed side-by-side with our friends in the United States.”

Policy & Business Update: Round 1 of UK & US Trade Negotiations is completed

On May 18, 2020 the UK’s Dept. of International Trade and the International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss issued a statement to update on the negotiations on the UK’s future trading relationship with the US.

Around 200 negotiators from the UK and the US took part in this first round of negotiations for a UK-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which was completed over the last two weeks from May 5th to 15th 2020.

The negotiations were conducted virtually with UK and US negotiators participating in extensive discussions in nearly 30 different negotiating groups covering all aspects of a comprehensive trade agreement. The discussions covered a number of workstreams including:

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Rules of Origin
Technical Barriers to Trade
Financial Services
Market Access for Goods, Agriculture
Services Sectors
Intellectual Property

Liz Truss said "Both sides are hopeful that negotiations for a comprehensive trade agreement can proceed at an accelerated pace. Ambassador Lighthizer and I agreed that a second virtual round will take place in the weeks of 15 and 22 June…the meetings were positive and constructive, reflecting the mutual commitment to secure an ambitious agreement that significantly boosts trade and investment between our economies, the first and fifth largest in the world."

The statement also noted a number of areas that showed particular progress with ‘a mutually high ambition for services, investment and digital trade’ as well as ‘confirmation that both sides will quickly pursue a standalone Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Chapter and will continue the UK-US SME Dialogue’.

You can find the full statement here on the Gov.UK site

The British-American Business Association welcomes the US and UK Governments' commitment to forge a new trans-Atlantic trade partnership. This is a challenging time in our shared history and BABA will be there to support initiatives and policies that enable our members to develop business opportunities in the UK, US and trans-Atlantically.

Policy & Business Update: UK & US Trade Negotiations Launched

Today, May 5th, the UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, and the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, launched negotiations towards a UK-US Free Trade Agreement.

Increased trade is essential to overcome the unprecedented economic challenge posed by Covid-19 and new free trade agreements are an important part of the long-term economic recovery.

It is expected this negotiation round will take place over the next 2 weeks, carried out by video conference. This sensible approach to negotiations will ensure that talks can progress during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also expected further rounds will take place approximately every 6 weeks.

Liz Truss said "The US is our largest trading partner and increasing transatlantic trade can help our economies bounce back from the economic challenge posed by Coronavirus. We want to strike an ambitious deal that opens up new opportunities for our businesses, brings in more investment and creates better jobs for people across the whole of the country."

Robert Lighthizer said: "...the United States will negotiate an ambitious and high-standard trade agreement with the UK that will strengthen our economies, support good-paying jobs and substantially improve opportunities for trade and investment between our two countries."

You can find the joint UK-US statement on today’s launch of these trade negotiations on the Gov.UK site. This follows publication of the UK’s negotiating objectives on 2 March 2020, which BABA covered at that time.

The UK and the US are already each other’s biggest investors, creating high-skilled jobs and stimulating growth in each other’s respective economies.

UK Government analysis shows that a US trade deal could lead to a £15 / $19 billion increase in trade which will be of mutual benefit to the UK and the US including individual States across the US. A UK-US FTA will also aim to secure comprehensive, far-reaching and mutually beneficial tariff reductions.

The British-American Business Association welcomes the US and UK Governments' commitment to forge a new trans-Atlantic trade partnership. This is a challenging time in our shared history and BABA will be there to support initiatives and policies that enable our members to develop business opportunities in the UK, US and trans-Atlantically.

The UK's approach to trade negotiations with the US

On March 2, 2020, the UK Government published its negotiating objectives for a free trade agreement with the United States, which represents the first major UK step towards an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement. The objectives can be found at Alongside these, the Government has also published the UK consultation response and a scoping assessment of the potential long-term impacts of an FTA.

The objectives published today show the UK’s desire to work with the US to remove barriers to trade and investment. Key areas where it sees potential are food and drink, advanced manufacturing and services such as financial services, professional and business services and transport services. The FTA is also an opportunity to set a new gold standard for digital trade and IP protection. With a focus on removing barriers to trade, UK analysis (as set out in the scoping assessment) shows an FTA would see an increase in annual bilateral trade between both countries.

Appointment of the New British Ambassador to the United States
We are very pleased to announce that the UK Government has appointed a new British Ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce, who will become the first woman in this posting.
Dame Karen Pierce DCMG, currently Ambassador to the UN in New York and Permanent Representative at the UN Security Council, has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States of America, by HM The Queen, after the Prime Minister approved the successful candidate on the recommendation of the Foreign Secretary.
Karen Pierce is one of the UK’s most experienced senior diplomats and will be the first woman to serve as HM Ambassador to the US.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called her "an outstanding and accomplished diplomat", tweeting: "I can think of no better person to drive forward our hugely important relationship with the United States at this time."
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “It is a time of huge opportunity for the friendship between the UK and US and I am delighted that Karen Pierce will take forward this exciting new chapter in our relationship. We’re proud to be sending to Washington such an outstanding diplomat, and I warmly congratulate her on her appointment”.
Karen Pierce said “I am honoured to have been asked to represent the UK in the US. I think it is the UK’s single most important relationship. There is a deep bond between Britain and the US, built on many pillars. We have a fantastic cross-Government team across the US and I look forward to working with them to strengthen and even further deepen the special relationship between our two countries and peoples”
Karen Pierce has been the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York since March 2018. Prior to this role, Karen served as the Director General for Political Affairs and Chief Operating Officer of the Foreign and Commonwealth in London, from 2016.
Karen joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1981. Her first role was in Tokyo between 1984 and 1987, after which she returned to the UK to work in the Security Policy Department. Karen worked in Washington as the Private Secretary to the British Ambassador to the United States between 1992 and 1995.
Between 1996 and 2006, Karen held several positions in London including Team Leader for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Deputy Head of Eastern Adriatic (Balkans) Department, Head of Newsroom, Head of EU Department (Bilateral) and concurrently Head of Afghanistan Political Military Unit after 9/11 before returning to the Balkans as Balkans Coordinator from 2002 to 2006.
In 2006, Karen moved to New York for the first time to be the Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador at the UK Mission to the UN. In 2009, she returned to London to become the Director of South Asia and Afghanistan Department and the UK’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2012, Karen started her second multilateral role, this time in Geneva, where she was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UK Mission to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and Other International Organisations until 2015. Between 2015 and 2016 Karen was the UK’s Ambassador to Afghanistan.

British Embassy Update - July - October 2019

July was a busy month for the UK, with the sixth meeting of the UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group taking place in London and the fourth meeting of the UK-US SME Dialogue taking place in Bristol.

The Trade & Investment Working Group meeting focused on strengthening the UK-US trade and investment relationship; laying the groundwork for a potential future trade agreement once the UK leaves the EU; and cooperating on global issues.

The UK-US SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Dialogue focused on opportunities presented by emerging technologies for services and digital trade; the obstacles SMEs currently face in trading between the UK and U.S.; and how these obstacles can be reduced, including through a potential future trade agreement.

Later that month, on July 24, Boris Johnson succeeded Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which resulted in Ministerial changes.

With her appointment as Secretary of State for International Trade, in early August, Liz Truss made her first visit to the US, stopping in Washington and New York, to discuss a future UK-US trade agreement. In Washington, she met United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and other senior officials and figures from Congress. In New York, the Secretary of State met with UK-US businesses and visited the New York and New Jersey Port Authority.

August also saw the G7 meet in Biarritz France. Prime Minister Johnson attended and met President Trump where they agreed to establish the Special Relationship Economic Working Group, with the goal of developing market-oriented principles for economic growth, and increasing bilateral cooperation on issues related to the modern 21st century economy.

In September, the Prime Minister travelled to New York to attend the UN General Assembly. While there, he spoke to business leaders at an event in the Hudson Yards district where he highlighted, among other things, the UK’s desire for a free trade deal with the US.

Finally, in October, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid travelled to Washington to attend the IMF and World Bank annual meetings. Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney also attended. In the margins of the meetings, the Chancellor met with his US counterpart, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.






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