Penny Mordaunt clashes with Emily Thornberry on trade
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The Trade Minister has been meeting with officials in numerous US states in a bid to increase economic ties. The end goal appears to be the future signing of a free trade deal with the US, but the White House is currently hesitant about such a move.
During her cross-state visit, Ms Mordaunt has agreed to process memoranda of understanding with four states, according to City AM.
She was the first UK minister to visit Oklahoma, one of the states on this list.
The state is now also in discussion with Tees Valley following prompting from the Department for International Trade, the paper reports.
This follows the opening of a new freeport in Tees Valley late last month, hailed as a sign that the UK is “maximising the opportunities of Brexit”.
Brexit news: Penny Mordaunt lands string of wins as UK and US progress towards deal. (Image: Getty)
Penny Mordaunt. (Image: Getty)
Similar agreements to process memoranda of understanding have also been achieved with Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina.
In a speech at Atlanta last week, Ms Mordaunt said Brexit should be viewed by the US as “a massive opportunity to anyone who believes in democracy and the power of trade as a force for good in the world”.
She compared the UK’s split from the EU to the American war of independence.
The minister said: “When America set itself free, it was a small economy.
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson at COP26 (Image: Getty)
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson at COP26. (Image: Getty)
“It is my hope that our move will act as a catalyst of greater trade liberalisation around the world.”
Despite all the speeches, visits and agreements, the UK still appears a long way off agreeing a free trade agreement with the US.
British Environment Secretary George Eustice recently told Sky News: “It’s just not a priority for the US administration.”
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The European trade landscape after Brexit. (Image: Express)
This has been seen as a snub from President Joe Biden, who has meanwhile offered to suspend tariffs on some imports from Japan and, more significantly, the EU.
There are currently no plans within the White House for tariffs, imposed while Donald Trump was president, to be removed for the UK.
While a free trade agreement may currently but out of sight, Ms Mordaunt has focussed her efforts on achieving growth “at a local level”.
Joe Biden. (Image: PA)
On Friday she wrote in the Yorkshire Post: “I am keen to make progress that will help drive investment, jobs and growth at local level.
“As the two biggest exporters of services in the world I want to deepen our relationship with US states, to make it easier for professionals, such as engineers or lawyers to work on the other side of the Atlantic.
“I’ll also be looking at increasing co-operation in areas from digital to agriculture.”