The following is an extract from a blog post written by Adam Jackson, Director, Public Affairs and Brexit Advisory, Grant Thornton UK LLP.
You can read the post in full here.
Last week I had the privilege of hosting a British American Business roundtable which brought together US and UK businesses and a party of trade advisers from the US Congress, including the lead Democrat and Republican congressional Trade Counsels. The high-level visit from the US and the views expressed by the US and UK businesses round the table all showed a strong appetite for a comprehensive US-UK trade deal.
As a Brit married to an American I have a keen interest in this one and firmly believe in Anglo-American partnerships! So what are the prospects for a deal? What are the big issues? What are the chances of an agreement – and how soon?
What could a trade deal cover?
- A comprehensive digital deal? There was broad interest on all sides for a trade deal that can develop digital services across the Atlantic, including e-commerce. This could be the most far-reaching digital trade agreement in the world. A Trade Agreement might also develop an intellectual property framework (including in life sciences and pharma and possibly covering cooperation on counterfeiting).
- Financial services need regulators to talk rather than a trade deal: In terms of financial services, banking and insurance businesses were clear that the focus for them lay in regulatory dialogue – outside the scope of Free Trade Agreement. Increasing cross border services will come from complex regulatory agreements, outside the scope of a trade deal. A Free Trade Agreement can help if it includes a simple provision on regulatory dialogue. More generally for financial services, the benefits will come from increased US-UK trade, for example by UK banks’ business customers and providing the insurance for US-Uk trade flows.
- Reducing regulatory and technical barriers to trade may be more important than lowering tariffs: On the US side, it was clear that widening access for US food and agriculture will be politically important for both parties. Here phytosanitary (food health) and other regulatory issues are important as well as tariffs (which are also often high on food). The US will expect concessions from the UK to widen access for US food producers.
Benefits were identified for the automotive industry in the US and UK – again as much from agreeing ways of recognising technical standards as from reducing tariffs.
Read the blog post in full here.