UK diplomats will start negotiations with their US counterparts on a post-Brexit trade agreement later in July, announced Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox.
European Union Regulations
Although European Union regulations forbid member states from entering into trade agreements with non-EU countries, such as the United States of America, Mr. Fox stated that this did not deter the UK government from exploring future trade ties with the US.
Appearing on BBC One’s political Q&A program, Question Time, Mr. Fox confirmed that talks with his US counterparts would begin on July 24th, as the government seeks to secure trade agreements with “very, very significant markets” outside the EU bloc.
During the program, the former UK defense secretary sought to allay fears of a fellow panel member that US diplomats might refuse to agree to a deal unless the UK accepts less stringent food safety regulations.
This relates to concerns that UK shops and supermarkets might stock chicken washed in chlorine, beef treated with hormones, and pork fortified with a drug banned in hundreds of countries worldwide.
Despite refusing to comment on this particular issue, Mr. Fox informed the Question Time audience that “we are not rejecting Europe, we want an open and liberal trading arrangement with Europe.”
“But there are some very, very significant markets out there that we will be able to take advantage of.”
“And as for [the claim that] the US will not talk to us, I have news for you, we are beginning our actual discussions on July 24.”
The UK is a major exporter to America, sending around £37 billion ($48 billion) more in goods and services to the US than it imports.
While former US President Barack Obama warned that the UK would be at the “back of the queue” for a trade deal if it voted for Brexit, the current President, Donald Trump, has taken a friendlier stance, telling The Times earlier this year that the US intends to “work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly.”