Andrew Marr grills US Ambassador on UK-US trade deal
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The interim US ambassador to the UK Philip Reeker repeatedly dodged Andrew Marr’s several questions about a US-UK trade deal this morning. The BBC host grilled the top diplomat about a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. However, Ambassador Reeker insisted that Britain should not focus on a “headline trade agreement” but on growing the trade between the two countries right now.
US-UK trade is understood to be worth approximately $220bn.
Mr Marr said: “Thinking about the US-UK trade, some say the quickest route to get a comprehensive deal with the US is to wait for a Trump re-election.”
Ambassador Reeker responded: “I think we need to focus on the reality today – the $220bn in trade between the first and fifth largest economies in the world.”
The BBC host followed up: “But no new trade deal?”
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The US diplomat said: “Trade deals are part of a longer process but we should focus on what we do have, which is an enormous level of trade and two-way investment.
“We see that growing as we emerge from Covid. I think you can go one step at a time.
“We have made some progress, like removing barriers to British lamb.
“But we have to keep our eye on what is really important, not the headline trade agreement, but the trade we are doing which is growing all the time.”
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Mr Marr grilled again, saying: “I am sticking with the idea of a trade deal, however, doggedly.”
Ambassador Reeker said: “A trade deal involves the Congress which is far more complex than anything we do at the executive level.
“There is a lot going on before Congress at the moment. We need to get our own house in order in terms of building back the economy after Covid.”
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The diplomat’s remarks echo Joe Biden, who also played down the chances of a post-Brexit free trade deal between the US and UK during Boris Johnson’s visit to the White House.
The US leader said he would discuss the issue “a little bit” with the UK prime minister, adding: “We’re going to have to work that through.”
However, Downing Street said a direct deal with the US remained the “priority”.
The UK is keen to strike free trade deals around the world in the wake of leaving the EU’s single market.
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