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Liz Truss admits US trade deal talks will not resume for years

20 Sep 2022 4 minute read
Liz Truss. Photo Rob Pinney PA Images

Liz Truss has conceded that negotiations for a post-Brexit free trade deal with the US will not restart for years as she flew to New York ahead of a meeting with Joe Biden.

The Prime Minister stressed her trade priority is striking agreements with India and the Gulf states, and joining a trade pact with nations including Australia and Japan.

But she heavily downplayed the chances of talks even resuming to get the comprehensive deal with the States that was billed by Brexit backers as a major benefit of leaving the EU during the referendum.

Ms Truss, a former Brexit opponent who has switched to becoming a supporter, said the deals with Delhi and other allies are “our trade priorities” ahead of talks with the US president at a United Nations summit on Wednesday.

“There aren’t currently any negotiations taking place with the US and I don’t have an expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term,” she told reporters flying with her to New York.

Officials did not deny that Ms Truss was effectively conceding it will be years before talks with the White House resume.


Mr Biden has stalled on trade negotiations and, vocally proud of his Irish heritage, has raised concerns about the impact of Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol on the peace process.

The next presidential election is in 2024 and the more trade-focused Donald Trump may run again for the Republicans.

When Boris Johnson last visited the US as prime minister, Mr Biden downplayed the chances of a deal with the UK as he warned against tampering with the “Irish accords” amid a row over the post-Brexit protocol.

Ms Truss named among her priorities the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one of the world’s largest trading blocs which includes Australia, Canada and Japan.

The other she cited is the Gulf Co-operation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and is the EU’s sixth largest export market.

Mr Johnson and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set deadline for striking a deal by Diwali, the Hindu celebration being held on October 23.

So far the UK and the US have been striking smaller state-by-state agreements, with Britain signing deals with Indiana and North Carolina.

But these are far less ambitious than the comprehensive free trade deal touted by Brexit supporters during the 2016 referendum.

Northern Ireland Protocol

One of the issues facing future talks is Ms Truss’s threat to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which the EU says would break international law.

Senior figures in Mr Biden’s Democratic party have warned a trade deal could be jeopardised by the UK single-handedly tearing up the agreement, which was part of the Brexit divorce deal.

While in New York, Ms Truss is also set to have talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen, which are bound to prominently feature Brexit.

Ms Truss will meet Mr Macron on Tuesday, before seeing Mr Biden and Ms von der Leyen on Wednesday. She had been set to talk to the US President in Britain over the weekend as he visited for the Queen’s funeral, but the meeting was postponed.

Labour’s Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, who was also attending Unga, said: “After being snubbed by the Biden administration within her first weeks in office, Liz Truss urgently needs to wake up to the damage her reckless approach to foreign policy is doing to the UK’s national interest.

“The Prime Minister must use the UN General Assembly to bring the UK back in from the cold and begin rebuilding our country’s diplomatic influence.”

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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

…and whys that? Oh yeah, we can talk about Joe B’s Irish heritage all we like and so can he, any grown-up is going to tell you that that is tosh. Heritage NEVER gets in the way of trade and cash, if it did, churches wouldn’t be turned into houses for middle-class people to cotch in, would they? Obama would have done more for black people in the USA and across the globe than he did (which was just slightly above “nothing”), wouldn’t he have? Ancient woodland wouldn’t be bulldozed and First Nations in the USA would be accorded a… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Jones
John Davis
John Davis
1 year ago

Ah, those Brexit promises. Nigel Farage: ”We could do a deal with America in 48 hours” – Brandon Lewis: ”We are absolutely clear. As a UK government, we will not be having a border down the Irish Sea” – Owen Paterson: ”Brexit will cut shopping bills by £300 a year”. All we had to do to get these prizes was vote for their personal ambition – Brexit. Wales did, and the prizes are ours. But where are they? It was all lies driven by Tory fantasists and career narcissists who placed their personal isolationist ideology ahead of the good of… Read more »

1 year ago

Truss will do lots of easy deals with nations and blocs that want to sell their junk into the UK thus strangling our native industries. To foster exports she needs to get a grip on where our products get sold and where they are likely to sell well, like Europe ! That’s not to say that rejoining the EU is the first step but having a civil open relationship should not be beyond them surely. There again that might be wishful thinking.

1 year ago
Reply to  hdavies15

To do a deal with the EU, the English establishment would lose face, and be seen to be backtracking. As Lord Frost said recently, Cymru and Scotland will not be allowed indy,as it would mean England losing face, and it will not be allowed to happen. That is the mentality running the UK.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago
Reply to  Gareth

I agree. They will never admit to being wrong. Brexiteers are fanatics. I’ve even heard some say they’d happily see Britain’s economy tank so long as we leave the EU. Looks like they got their wish. #Twp 🥴🇬🇧

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago

Oh the Brexit dividend. Why is Liz Truss surprised when any trade deal with America has stalled seeing she’s intending to break international law by pulling out of the Northern Ireland protocol agreed threatening peace seeing President Biden is of Irish decent and the US has a large Irish population. Another foot-in-mouth moment. 🥴🇬🇧

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