LONDON — The U.K. and U.S. will launch talks on a free-trade agreement on Tuesday.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss will hold an initial video call with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, with around 100 officials listening in from both sides.
Truss pledged to drive a “hard bargain” with Washington and insisted a trade deal was “essential’ to ease the economic burden of the coronavirus.
The first round of talks is set to take two weeks, with further rounds roughly every six weeks. Britain hopes to win lower goods tariffs on its exports to the U.S. on things like cars and ceramics, as well as a package on services, among other things.
Ministers hope negotiations with Washington will pile pressure on the EU in the Brexit trade talks, where the two sides are at an impasse over key sticking points such as fisheries and level playing field rules to limit competition.
Truss said: “As we kick off trade negotiations this week, we will drive a hard bargain that benefits every part of the U.K. and works for the small businesses who are suffering most in this difficult period.”
Jeff Emerson, the spokesman for the U.S. trade representative, added: “I can confirm the talks start Tuesday by video-conference.”
On the U.K. side, the talks will be led by negotiator Oliver Griffiths and overseen by Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser Crawford Falconer. The talks will be held remotely until travel becomes possible.