US and UK in Debates Over Mini Trade Deal
The outgoing US administration is in talks with the UK to try to seal a mini-deal to reduce trade tariffs, Donald Trump’s trade chief has said. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the BBC he was hopeful for a deal that could see punitive tariffs on Scottish whisky lowered.
The UK recently said it would drop tariffs against the US over subsidies for aerospace firms.
This was in a bid to reach a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington. In his first international interview, Mr Lighthizer suggested the UK would need to go further than last week’s announcement breaking with the EU’s support of European plane maker Airbus.
“I’m talking to [International Trade Secretary] Liz Truss, about trying to work out some kind of a deal… I’m hopeful we can get some kind of an agreement out you know, we don’t have a lot of time left,” he said.
“We have the advantage in that both the US and the UK – particularly the current government of the UK – are not big subsidisers, where some other countries are more inclined to subsidise. So it would be helpful if we could come to some kind of agreement,” he said when asked about lowering tariffs on whisky and cashmere. “We are in discussions, we’ll see how that works out.”
Last week, the UK unilaterally broke with European support of Airbus in a long-running transatlantic trade dispute, changing policy expressed only in January this year of ongoing support even after Brexit, by announcing it would no longer apply tariffs to imports of Boeing aircraft.
Liz Truss said that she wanted to “de-escalate” the 16-year-old conflict over subsidies.