UK trade minister to seek closer ties on US trip, deal remains distant

Ms Anne-Marie Trevelyan's visit includes a push to resolve a long-running dispute over steel and aluminium tariffs. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain will seek to strengthen its trading relationship with the United States this week when trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan visits New York and Washington, but a full free-trade agreement remains a distant prospect.

Ms Trevelyan will meet US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington on Tuesday (Dec 7), and promote Britain at a meeting with investors in New York.

Despite a trade deal with the United States being touted as one of the biggest prizes of Britain's exit from the European Union in the years following the 2016 Brexit vote, US President Joe Biden has since made clear that any such deal is not a priority for his administration.

That has forced Britain to take a different approach of pursuing smaller agreements to remove specific trade barriers, solve long-running trade disputes, and work together on world trade reform.

Ms Trevelyan's visit, her first since becoming trade minister in September, will pursue that strategy, including a push to resolve a long-running dispute over steel and aluminium tariffs.

Former US President Donald Trump imposed 25 per cent and 10 per cent tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU in 2018.

The tariffs were withdrawn in October of this year, but they remain in place for Britain due to its exit from the EU.

Officials in the United States and Britain last week rejected a report in the Financial Times that said talks on resolving the tariff row were stalled due to concerns about post-Brexit trade rules affecting Northern Ireland.

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