The U.K.’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Elizabeth Truss, provided a written statement on “Free Trade Agreements with the Rest of the World” on February 6th.
She said, “…this Government has ambitious goals for British trade. We aim to secure free trade agreements with countries covering 80% of U.K. trade within the next three years. We will drive a hard bargain and, as with all negotiations, we will be prepared to walk away if that is in the national interest. Independence will allow the U.K. to become a truly Global Britain, championing free trade and showing the U.K. is a force for good.”
Truss added a key priority was to “deepen trade and investment relationships with like-minded partners, starting with the USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. These bilateral negotiations will also be a potential stepping-stone to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Regarding the U.K.-USA Free Trade Agreement (FTA) the Government will be setting out negotiating objectives in due course, alongside a response to the public consultation as well as an initial economic assessment. This will be the first in a series of statements setting out our plans for FTAs with global partners.”
She added that when negotiating trade deals, the National Health Service (NHS) will not be on the table. Further, Truss said, “…we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”
Finally, some of the priority areas of the U.K.-U.S. Free Trade Agreement were provided, which included:
- Good Market Access;
- Trade Remedies;
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards;
- Trade in Services;
- Mutual Recognition if Professional Qualifications;
- Digital Trade;
- Intellectual Property; and
- Government Procurement.