Legally, the UK cannot agree trade deals with a non-EU country while it is still a member of the Union; however, that has not stopped International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox sounding out possible allies for a post-Brexit world.

In this context, the first meeting of the US-UK Trade and Investment Working Group recently took place in Washington DC.

Described by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as a key mechanism to deepen the already strong bilateral trade and investment relationship between the two countries, the Working Group aims to lay the groundwork for a post-Brexit trade relationship.

Comprising representatives from several US and UK Government agencies, together with delegations from the two sides, the group will focus on providing commercial continuity for US and UK businesses as the UK leaves the Union.

It will also explore ways to strengthen trade and investment ties ahead of that date.

Commenting on the meeting, Dr Fox said: “It is a testament to the political will in both countries that this Working Group is meeting just a month after Ambassador Lighthizer and I discussed it in June.”

The group will, he explained, be the forum to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment relationship and to deepen the already extensive economic ties between the two sides.

The immediate priority is to give businesses on both sides of the Atlantic certainty and confidence, he added, pointing out that the UK-US trade is worth some £150 billion a year.

Potential negotiations on an ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries will also be discussed by the Working Group.

“The US is our single largest trading partner — therefore we have a strong foundation on which to build,” Dr Fox concluded.

Source – Croners Wolters Kluwer Business

Doing Business in The United States of America – 0900 – 1430, Wednesday 13th September 2017
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