LONDON (Reuters) – British trade minister Liz Truss on Thursday set out the country’s priorities for a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States.
FILE PHOTO: A shipping container is lifted at Felixstowe Port, Britain April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Radburn
Truss said Britain would set out detailed negotiating objectives in due course. Below are the priorities listed in Truss’s statement to parliament:
GOODS MARKET ACCESS
Britain wants to secure “comprehensive, far-reaching and mutually beneficial tariff reductions” to increase access to the U.S. market for British businesses and lower prices for British consumers.
The deal should also create “efficient, predictable, and transparent” customs procedures, reduce technical barriers to trade and remove measures that restrict British trade. But it should also maintain the safety and quality of products on the UK market, the government said.
The deal should allow Britain to protect its own interests when threatened by “unexpected surges in imports of goods or unfair trading practices”. It will also aim to remove trade- distorting tariffs, the government said.
SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY STANDARDS
Food standards, and the prospect that Britain would have to accept imports of chlorine-washed chicken from the United States in any trade deal have become a concern for many Britons.
The government said Britain wanted to maintain its own autonomous sanitary and phytosanitary regime to protect public, animal and plant life and health and the environment.
“We will not compromise on our high animal welfare and food standards,” it said.
NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
Britain said that in all trade deals it plans to negotiate, not just with the United States, the National Health Service would not be on the table.
The opposition Labour Party made the threat of the government selling off the NHS a central plank of its campaign before the December election, in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won a majority.
“The price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. The services the NHS provides will not be on the table,” the government said.
The government said nothing in any trade agreement would undermine its commitment to combating climate change. It said it would aim to maintain and advance Britain’s environmental, labor and anti-corruption standards and support UK low-carbon industries, technology and innovation.
The government hopes the trade deal will boost key British services such as financial services, telecommunications, professional and business services, and transport services.
Britain hopes to make it easier for its professionals to do business in the United States, including by easing business travel. It wants to secure commitments to ensure fair competition and improve market access for UK services exporters.
It will also encourage the mutual recognition of UK and U.S. professional qualifications, by strengthening regulatory cooperation.
The government plans to ensure British investors operating in the United States have the same level of protection and standards of treatment they receive in the UK.
Britain wants to include a specific small-business chapter in the trade deal to support the more than 31,600 small British businesses that already export to the United States.
The government wants the agreement to take account of changing technology and developing areas of the economy, and include provisions which maximize opportunities for digital trade across all sectors of the economy.
Britain wants to secure provisions that support its creative and innovative industries.
Britain wants to maximize access of its companies to government procurement opportunities in the United States at both a federal and state level.
Compiled by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Larry King