Trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan's first overseas trip: how talks with the US progressed

Wed 8 Dec 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

International trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan yesterday said that “more can be achieved” in the economic partnership between the US and UK despite investment and trade already “thriving between the two countries”.

Trevelyan's remarks came after meeting her US counterpart, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in Washington DC yesterday.

It was Trevelyan’s first overseas trip since taking the role in September. The meeting started with a discussion on ways of building on the £200 billion-plus trading relationship between the two countries.

No movement on steel tariffs

Despite underlining the ‘special relationship’ between the two countries, Reuters reports, the meeting did not secure an invitation for the UK to join a steel trade deal signed by the US and the European Union in October.

Trevelyan had hoped to persuade the US to remove the Section 232 ‘Trump tariffs’ on UK steel and aluminium, dating from 2018, after US president Joe Biden removed the levies for the EU, but not for the UK.

Tai stressed the US focus on addressing excess capacity in the steel and aluminium sectors from ‘non-market’ economies.

Mutual interests

The pair agreed to stay in touch on global supply chain issues, progressing digitalisation of trade, addressing climate change, promoting free and fair trade by combating unfair trading practices and reforming the WTO.

Targeting US states

With no sign of a full free trade deal with the US soon, the UK has said it prioritise trade deals with individual US states like California and New York, trade minister Penny Mordaunt said last month.

“We want a comprehensive free trade agreement between the UK and the US that is the most advanced FTA in the world, setting global standards and delivering up to £15.3 billion increase in bilateral trade.”

She said the US "explicitly recognises Britain as a global champion arguing for trade liberalisation… [while] the UK recognises the United States as its ally in this".