27 May 2022 | NEWS

The United Kingdom is set to sign its first trade agreement with one of the individual states in America.

The deal will be signed by the UK and the state of Indiana in order to help boost trade between the pair. Currently, Indiana buys £1.1 billion worth of goods from the UK, but the deal seeks to increase goods crossing into the state.

The decision to conduct trade negotiations between the UK and individual states, rather than the federal Government, came about after talks between the UK and US Governments stalled following the succession of the US Presidency from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. The Government is now hoping to conduct talks with around twenty US states to compensate for the lack of a federal US trade agreement.

The US Government has also voiced concerns about the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement on the island of Ireland, which may have contributed to the breakdown in trade talks.

Last week, Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives said on the prospect of the UK triggering Article 16 of the Withdrawal agreement on Twitter: “As I have stated in my conversations with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary & Members of the House of Commons, if the United Kingdom chooses to undermine the Good Friday Accords, the Congress cannot & will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the UK.”

Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena is set to sign the deal with Governor of Indiana Eric Holcomb today.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said on the subject of the trade agreement with Indiana that it “will help deliver value to UK businesses and support our areas of shared interest, such as levelling up”.

Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt told Parliament on Thursday that the Government was hopeful of further agreements. She said in the House of Commons: “We are going to do a state-level agreement with Texas, we hope, by October of this year, and we will start signing these agreements with US states next month. The first eight that we have in the pipeline will be equivalent to 20% of the United States economy.”

The deal will see the removal of trade barriers between Indiana and the UK. The Government says that the trade deal will create opportunities for collaboration in areas including the renewable energy sector and manufacturing.

However, Labour’s Shadow International Trade Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, claimed that the Government had failed on the promise to deliver a US-wide trade agreement before the end of 2022. He said: “With less than seven months to go, it seems that this will be another broken promise from this Government.”

Jonathan is a political reporter and commentator. His interests include philosophy and sociology.


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