UK may seek to join US-Mexico-Canada trade deal as Boris Johnson ‘drops’ deal with Joe Biden

The UK is considering applying to join the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal after Boris Johnson acknowledged that a bilateral deal with Washington would not take place until the next general election.

The rapprochement with the three North American powers could be an alternative to the development of a tailor-made free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom, estimates the government.

Joe Biden has indicated that he is not interested in new bilateral agreements, unlike Donald Trump. But extending existing agreements may prove to be less politically controversial.

When asked during his trip to the United States if a transatlantic deal will be reached by 2024, Mr Johnson said: “We will continue with the free trade agreements as quickly as possible.”

He added, “We do significant exports with free trade agreements including to the United States and I have a lot of reason to be optimistic about that, but I just, you know, these , the Americans are negotiating very hard. What I want for our country is a great free trade agreement. I will not settle for anything less.

Appearing on Tuesday with US Vice President Kamala Harris, Mr Johnson said there had been “real progress” on trade, welcoming the end of a “strange ban” on imports of British beef.

A senior government official said if bilateral talks with the United States fail, the United Kingdom will continue to explore other options, including becoming the fourth member of the USMCA. They added, “There are a variety of different ways to do this. The question is whether the US administration is ready. The ball is in the court of the United States.

Britain currently has more comprehensive trade deals with Canada and Mexico than with the United States, a point British officials have stressed in meetings with their American counterparts.

If Mr Johnson fails to strike a trade deal with Washington, he will run in the next election with one of his main manifesto promises broken and unanswered questions about how Britain can make the best of it. Brexit party.

Ahead of the last election in 2019, the Tories said they would “aim for 80% of UK trade to be covered by free trade agreements over the next three years, starting with the United States, the Australia, New Zealand and Japan “. Agreements with Australia and Japan have already been concluded and a pact with New Zealand is expected in a few weeks.

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The UK is also seeking to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade bloc of 11 members including Japan, which was originally created by the United States before Donald Trump left. took of.

Liz Truss, the new foreign minister, has said she wants to integrate foreign and trade policy more closely.

She told reporters: “What I want to do in the job of foreign minister is to link our trade work, our diplomatic work and our security work much more closely. Because now we are an independent trading nation, we have a real opportunity to be much more free and flexible in how we use our policies. “


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