The United States is the UK's largest trading partner.

And the two countries are particularly interconnected when it comes to trade in services and foreign direct investment.

In total, their trade represents some 263 billion dollars (200 billion pounds) per year.

Since the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, London has been negotiating all-out agreements to boost its international trade and is seeking in particular to strengthen its ties with the United States.

But if the administration of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) was willing to enter into a bilateral agreement with London and had even launched a negotiation process, that of Joe Biden does not seem in a hurry to relaunch them.

“It is important to remember that the (trade) agreements are only a tool at our disposal,” tempered American officials who requested anonymity.

Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative, who will lead the U.S.-side talks on Monday and Tuesday, will stress "the need to be creative and think outside the box when it comes to our trade dynamics with the UK," they said. they continued during a conference call.

Katherine Tai in Geneva (Switzerland) on October 14, 2021 Fabrice COFFRINI AFP

Officials argued that some trade tools designed "many decades" ago were not necessarily suitable to address the global challenges countries now face.

"Work together"

Asked whether this meeting revived the process of negotiations for an agreement interrupted last year, they insisted that it was more a question of "working together" and said they were convinced that the discussions would be fruitful.

The objective of these two days of discussions is to "make our trade relationship more inventive and help our workers and our companies to be competitive in a particularly difficult global economy", they insisted.

Ambassador Tai and her British counterpart Anne-Marie Trevelyan will address a series of issues such as reducing bottlenecks in global supply chains, decarbonizing their economies, promoting digital trade and supporting of their national workforce as well as labor rights, a theme dear to the Biden administration.

The talks will take place as the Russian-led war in Ukraine continues to rage, but they will not lead to announcements of new sanctions against Moscow even if these will be discussed, the US officials also said.

British Secretary for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan, in London, March 8, 2022 JUSTIN TALLIS AFP / Archives

"Partly because many of the sanctions relate to other departments of the US government," such as the State Department, the Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce, they explained.

Instead, the talks will largely focus on “the many ways we can pursue our common interests vis-à-vis Russia and vis-à-vis China,” they said without going into specifics.

This new dialogue is "an opportunity to make transatlantic trade easier, faster and more profitable", said Ms. Trevelyan on Wednesday, announcing the holding of this meeting which will be followed by another round of discussions "later in the spring. " UK.

In Baltimore, Washington and London will not specifically address their dispute over steel and aluminum, which falls under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Commerce, the US officials have also indicated, citing "progress" in discussions for resolve this conflict.

The two countries announced in January the launch of negotiations to put an end to this dispute inherited from the Trump era.

The United Kingdom is one of many countries that were imposed additional tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum in June 2018, in the midst of a trade war.

© 2022 AFP

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