Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, has flown to the US to strengthen economic ties a month after the White House agreed to lift tariffs on British goods including Scotch whisky.
Truss is scheduled to meet Katherine Tai, President Biden’s chief trade negotiator, during a five-day visit designed to bolster the transatlantic alliance.
After initial negotiating rounds last year, little has been said publicly about the prospect of a post-Brexit trade deal since Biden took office in January.
Yesterday the trade department said the talks with Tai, who is the US trade representative, would “focus on what we can do to work together and combat market-distorting trade practices,” such as industrial subsidies and dumping. She will then travel to the west coast for discussions with businesses and investors.
The minister intends to speak to “leading Democrats and the tech industry” about how a free trade agreement could set high standards for digital trade, according to a government statement.
Last month Whitehall and Washington struck a deal to end an acrimonious and long-running dispute over support for Airbus and Boeing. Both sides agreed not to hit the other with tariffs linked to the row over aerospace for five years, prompting relief within key industries manufacturing targeted exports such as Scotch and suits. It came a day after Biden’s officials buried the same hatchet with Brussels.
At the time the British and American governments expressed hope that their agreement would pave the way for them to collaborate more closely and challenge “unfair practices” by countries including China.
Before she left Truss said that she was going “to build on the progress we’ve already made on tackling market-distorting practices that threaten the future progress and prosperity we can make around the world through free and fair trade.
“Workers in both the UK and US have suffered when their products are unfairly undercut. We must work together with our friends and allies in the US to protect free enterprise from practices like industrial subsidies and intellectual property theft.”
Britain’s trade with the US, its largest single trading partner, supports “more than a million jobs” across both countries, Truss said, labelling this a “clear reason” to work more closely together.