Anne-Marie Trevelyan has said Britain is looking to strike half a dozen bilateral economic pacts with US states by the end of the year.
The international trade minister told members of the House of Lords international agreements committee yesterday (13 July) that the deals were a “demonstration of what is already a strong and existing relationship”.
The first state-level agreement was secured with Indiana in May, when a memorandum of understanding was signed.
The UK is Indiana’s seventh-largest export market, with the state buying $1.4 billion worth of goods from the UK each year, reports the Times.
With negotiations for a nationwide free trade deal with the US stalled, the UK is looking to sign as many as 20 individual US states, which the government describes as “real quick wins”.
Texas and Arkansas are amongst the 20 states that the UK has been reported to be holding negotiations with.
The Texas Economic Development & Tourism Office has described the UK as “Texas’ 11th largest trading partner in 2021,” relying on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Indiana agreement will improve procurement processes and strengthen academic and research ties, enabling academics and businesses to collaborate more effectively, the government has claimed.
It also aims to promote mutual professional equivalence so that workers from the UK and US can have their professional qualifications recognised on both sides of the Atlantic
In an opinion piece in the Express, trade secretary and candidate for the Tory leadership Penny Mordaunt described the deals as part of a pattern of success for the UK as it takes full advantage of its new post-Brexit freedoms.
‘Getting deals done’
Mordaunt has been responsible for much of the legwork in getting the deals off the ground, City AM reports.
Mordaunt, finished second in the latest round of voting in the selection process for the new Conservative Party Leader (14 July).
One DIT source said that Mordaunt “cares about the narrative of her brief” and added that “she’s put a fair amount of energy into her US states level agenda … she got the importance of what she was doing on US trade and engagement where others haven’t”.