According to the Department for International Trade, "[a free trade agreement] with the US represents significant opportunities throughout the economy, from agriculture to professional services. Potential benefits include better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for all parts of the UK." On 2 March 2020 the Department set out its approach to trade negotiations, negotiating objectives, response to a public consultation on a UK-US trade agreement and a preliminary assessment of the long-term impacts of a bilateral trade agreement between the UK and the US in a 184-page document entitled UK-US Free Trade Agreement.
The document consists of an introduction, 4 chapters and an annexe:
- Chapter 1 - Strategic case
- Chapter 2 - Outline approach
- Chapter 3 - Public consultation on trade negotiations with the United States: Government response
- Chapter 4 – Scoping Assessment
- Annexe - Public consultation on trade negotiations with the United States: Summary of responses.
Chapter 2 outlines the structure of a free trade agreement with the USA covering:
- trade in goods including customs facilitation, technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary standards;
- good regulatory practice;
- trade in services;
- intellectual property;
- industrial subsidies;
- publicly owned enterprises;
- government procurement;
- trade and development;
- trade remedies;
- dispute settlement;
- special provisions for small and medium enterprises;
- women's empowerment;
- exceptions to protect national interests; and
- general provisions,
Chapter 4 provides a preliminary assessment of the potential long-run impacts of a free trade agreement with the USA. It opens with a snapshot of the UK's existing trade with the USA. If there were substantial tariff liberalisation and a 25% reduction in non-tariff measures, GDP would increase by 0.07% or £1.6 billion, exports by 4.3% and imports by 4.1%. If there were full tariff liberalisation and a 50% reduction in non-tariff measures, GDP would increase by 0.16% or £3.4 billion, exports by 7.7% and imports by 8.6%. The chapter models the impact of such tariff reductions and liberalization on the UK's nations and regions and sectors of the economy.
No timetable appears to have been published for the start of negotiations with the USA. According to the press release Liz Truss kick-starts UK-US trade talks of 1 March 2020, they are expected to begin this month (that is to say, March 2020). Certainly, there is nothing to compare with the detailed negotiations with the Commission on the UK's new relationship with the EU. Nevertheless, I am monitoring such activity as takes place on my Trade Negotiations with the USA page.
Anyone wishing to discuss this article or any of the issues mentioned may call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact page.