Brexiteers have backed the new Prime Minister in putting US trade talks on the back burner because of the Biden administration’s uncompromising stance towards the UK. The move comes following concerns over the Democrats’ opposition to Brexit and suggestions a US trade deal would be granted if the UK gave into EU demands.
Flying over to New York for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Ms Truss, who initiated UK/ US trade talks as International Trade Secretary, told reporters: “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.”
Sources have suggested that one of the main reasons the talks have been put on hold was because Joe Biden and other senior Democrats including speaker Nancy Pelosi, who flew into Ireland today, have attached a demand that the UK caves into the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol.
Former Brexit minister David Jones, now deputy chairman of the powerful European Research Group of Tory Brexiteer MPs, said that “securing the UK single market must be Liz Truss’s overriding priority”.
Mr Jones, a former cabinet minister, said: “It is not worth having a trade agreement [with the US] at any price.
“The internal market of the UK has to be maintained.”
Ms Truss is set to have further talks tomorrow about the protocol with EU leaders at the UN.
But she has vowed to press ahead with legislation which removes the worst aspects of the protocol and stops Northern Ireland from being separated from Britain in terms of meat, medicines and other exports as well as tax benefits like cuts in VAT.
Mr Jones also pointed out that polling suggests President Biden may be out of the White House after the election in two years’ time with the Democrats also facing defeat in this November’s midterm elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate.
He said: “I think there is no need to worry to talk to them at the moment.”
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The chairman of the ERG, Mark Francois, agreed that there is no rush to start talks with the US.
He said: “We all want a successful transatlantic trade deal – but not at any price. We continue to trade with our American partners even without a deal, while we still have important issues to settle first, not least the Northern Ireland Protocol, which much be addressed, in order to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and peace in that country.”
Meanwhile, with Ms Truss and Mr Biden meeting in New York, the US President has also made it clear that he disagrees with her over economic policy.
With the British Prime Minister pushing for economic growth and tax cuts, Mr Biden tweeted: “I am sick and tired of trickle-down economics. It has never worked. We’re building an economy from the bottom up and middle out.”