The UK could be on course to secure at least six trade deals with US states before the end of the year, its international trade secretary has revealed.
In an interview reported by Bloomberg, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said that there were “about half a dozen” states involved in drafting memorandums of understanding, “mostly around services,” although she added there would also be “some opportunities for procurement to access.”
Indiana and Texas
Indiana is a strategic state for the UK. It is the eighth-largest exporter in the US, selling products such as maize, soya beans and tomatoes.
The UK is the state’s 7th largest export market. All-told the state buys $1.4bn worth of goods from the UK annually.
Meanwhile a deal with the state of Texas could be sealed by as early as October.
This state-by-state approach is thought to be a concerted tactic by the UK government to get around President Joe Biden’s reluctance to negotiate a full free-trade agreement with it.
The likelihood of a country-wide deal now appears to have suffered a further setback, following US concern over UK attempts to unilaterally alter the Northern Ireland Protocol.
‘Loads’ to do
Ms Trevelyan said: "The US big-picture deal is important and we'll get there when the White House has the view that they have got their domestic situation [under control], and they want to look out again.”
She added: "In the meantime, there's loads that businesses would like us to try and sort out in terms of market access barriers.”
Ms Trevelyan said: "State-by-state we are doing all sorts. "We've got some really good discussions going on. Watch this space.”
In April, trade policy minister Penny Mordaunt said the UK was targeting 20 US states.
Speaking in Parliament, she said the first eight states that the UK is bidding to secure deals with will represent the equivalent of 20% of the US economy.