US trade: UK seeks deals with individual US states in the absence of a free trade agreement

Fri 12 Nov 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

With no sign of a US trade deal soon, the UK will prioritise trade deals with individual US states like California and New York, says trade minister Penny Mordaunt.

Speaking at the Chatham House Global Trade conference yesterday, Mordaunt said: “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".

Waiting for US

However, she said that the US “has more to do to be ready for an FTA. But when they are, we will be waiting for them”.

In the meantime, Mordaunt said “much of my time will be spent” on “working in the US at state level”, reports City AM.

California has the sixth largest economy in the world, with a GDP bigger than India, France and Italy.

Liz Truss met with Silicon Valley companies and California governor Gavin Newsom during a US trip this summer, reported Politico.

Mordaunt's full speech to the conference is here

$260bn trade

According to the government, trade between the UK and California is worth $260bn a year, with the UK being California’s fifth largest export market in 2019.

Prime minister Boris Johnson came away with little to show from his first meeting with US President Joe Biden in September, reported Sky.

Johnson said that Biden had “a lot of fish to fry” and was unable to commit to a UK trade deal before 2024.

EU-US detente

Meanwhile the EU, which had a fractious relationship with the previous president Donald Trump, is enjoying a more positive experience with the current administration.

Following last month’s agreement to pause tariffs on more than $10 billion worth of goods, the US and EU are focused on strengthening the multilateral trading system, reports Stars & Stripes.

“In a nutshell, we agreed to hit the pause button on this major Trump-era irritant,” EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told a press conference in Brussels. “It’s clear that the solution which we have reached is not the end solution for this dispute.”