US and UK officials begin new dialogue on ‘smarter’ trade relations

Senior U.S. trade officials described the talks, which include a port visit to Baltimore and meetings with U.S. workers and industry leaders, as a broad effort to take stock of the $153 billion bilateral trade relationship dollars, with specific irritants to be set aside and dealt with. with in separate interviews.

“The purpose of this dialogue is to work together to make our trade smarter and to help our workers and businesses compete in a very challenging global economy,” a senior US trade official told reporters.

The two sides are “making progress” in separate talks on resolving a dispute over U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, the official said, but other agencies are leading those efforts.

Washington also remains concerned about UK food safety standards that prevent imports of chlorine-treated US chicken, but will address that issue separately, a second official said.

US and UK officials said meetings this week did not mark a resumption of formal talks on a free trade deal held under the former Trump administration and suspended once President Joe Biden took office.

Such deals “are just one tool at our disposal and…we really need to get creative and think outside the box when it comes to trade policy,” a third senior trade official said. “That’s what this dialogue is going to help us unpack.”

The two sides will meet again later this spring in Britain, but the venue has not been finalized, officials said.

Close coordination on economic sanctions, export controls and trade measures imposed on Russia has brought Europe and the United States closer together, while underscoring the threat posed by non-tradable economies like China, the official said .

“The challenges we face… are the same ones facing Europeans. And so I really think there is… an inflection point here in many ways.”

Top priorities for U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai include collaborating on expanding labor rights, decarbonizing their economies, promoting racial and gender equity, and the “democratizing” benefits of labor. digital economy, officials said.

Marjorie Chorlins, senior vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce, who will take part in a meeting with UK officials, said it was disappointing that there were no plans to resume talks on a free trade agreement. trade so soon.

“We should have been able to restart the US-UK negotiations. We were five rounds down and a lot of work had been done. It should have been easy with one of our closest allies.”

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Richard Chang)

By Andrea Shalal

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