- International Trade Secretary will hold first meeting of the UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group with counterpart Ambassador Robert Lighthizer
- discussions likely to focus on providing certainty for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic post-Brexit
- Dr Fox will then travel to Mexico to meet with the Mexican Minister of Economy to discuss continuity in our trading relationship when we leave the EU and conclude his visit in Houston
International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade, The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, will travel to Washington to launch the first trade and investment working group meeting on Monday 24 July with US Trade Representative, Ambassador Lighthizer.
The working group is dedicated to strengthening the bilateral trade and investment relationship, building on strong foundations and meeting the shared ambition of both the Prime Minister and President Trump when they met earlier this year.
Discussions are expected to focus on providing certainty, continuity and increasing confidence for UK and US businesses as the UK leaves the EU and explore ways to strengthen our trade and commercial ties ahead of exit, consistent with our EU membership obligations.
Whilst the UK cannot conclude a free trade agreement ahead of leaving the EU, the group will provide the mechanism for preparing the ground for a potential free trade agreement once the UK has left.
The working group will meet for 2 days and includes officials from both governments who will conduct discussions.
Trade between the 2 countries is already worth over £150 billion (over $200 billion) a year, the US is the single biggest source of inward investment into the UK, and together there is around $1 trillion invested in each other’s economies.
International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP said:
The first meeting of the UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group is the start of the next chapter in our special relationship.
Although it’s too early to say exactly what would be covered in a potential deal, the working group is the means to ensure we get to know each other’s issues and identify areas where we can work together to strengthen trade and investment ties.
Our work as an international economic department has never been more important and our exit from the European Union offers an unprecedented opportunity to reshape our independent trading ambitions and build on the already strong trading relationship with our single largest trading partner – the US.
As part of the 2-day visit to Washington, Dr Fox will also meet with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, members of Congress and deliver a speech at the American Enterprise Institute and have a dinner with UK and US business representatives to hear their ambitions for the trade and investment relationship.
On Tuesday 25 July Dr Fox will host a breakfast with members of Congress. He will speak on the strength of the existing trading relationship between each of the 435 US Congressional Districts and the UK, outlined in a new report. The report highlights that in the US more than 700,000 jobs are supported by exports to the UK in 2015, growing prosperity on both sides of the pond. This report complements a previous study that showed the strong trade and investment relationship between each 50 US states and the UK.
Dr Fox will then travel to Mexico to meet with the Mexican Minister of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo to discuss continuity in our trading relationship when we leave the EU.
Mexico is an emerging market – currently the 15th largest in the world and has a growing interest in sectors in which the UK has expertise such as energy, financial services and retail.
Trade between the UK and Mexico is worth £3.6 billion annually and a number of Mexican companies have invested in UK industries such as food, chemicals, construction and financial services. Whilst there Dr Fox will also meet with UK and Mexican companies to discuss current and future opportunities for bilateral trade and investment. He will also learn about Mexico City’s new airport project - an opportunity to further understand the opportunities for the UK in Latin America’s biggest single infrastructure project.
Dr Fox will complete the visit by travelling to Houston to hold meetings with the chemical, oil and gas sectors. Texas exports $3.8 billion in goods in 2016 to the UK, with nearly 900 UK subsidiaries operating in the state. More than 53,000 jobs are supported by exports to the UK in Texas.