UK-US trade relations inquiry launched

16 October 2017

The International Trade Committee launches an inquiry into UK-US trade relations. This will pick up on the previous Committee’s work, brought to an end by the 2017 election, examining the opportunities and challenges in negotiating a free trade agreement and increasing trade between the two countries.

Committee Chair Angus MacNeil MP said:

"The Government continues to envisage a trade deal with the US as the moment when so-called “Global Britain” arrives on the world stage. Though Ministers are only at the point of informal discussions with the US, key issues are already emerging. The visit of the Secretary of State, Dr Liam Fox, to the US in July was overshadowed by questions about chlorinated chicken. While Dr Fox insisted this was not a big issue, fellow Cabinet member and Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, suggested it could hold up the whole negotiating process. Clearly the Government has a lot of work to do before negotiators sit down for formal talks with their US counterparts.

"The Committee wants to explore which sectors can expect to benefit – or not – from a trade deal. How will any agreement affect industries such as farming, car manufacturing and financial services? Will US pharma look for a deal enabling them to sell their drugs at higher prices than the NHS will currently pay? Should the UK attempt to move its regulations away from those of the EU and towards the US’s?

"The imposition by the US of punitive tariffs on Canadian aerospace company Bombardier could badly affect jobs in Northern Ireland. Now we know - if we ever doubted it - that the US will be a tough test for the UK’s fledgling trade negotiations team.

"The new Committee is keen to explore trade relations with Canada and Mexico in this inquiry, too. President Trump has made it clear that he favours bilateral agreements, and the US could walk away from the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which covers the US, Canada and Mexico. But since our first inquiry voices on this side of the Atlantic have talked up the idea of the UK joining this bloc. So we would welcome views from stakeholders on whether the UK, as it realigns its relationship with one trading group, the EU, should try to join NAFTA or a similar regional agreement with the US."

Terms of Reference

Interested organisations or individuals are invited to submit written evidence to the Committee. The Committee is particularly interested in the following:

  • what the UK’s priorities and objectives should be in negotiating any such agreement;
  • the possible impacts (positive and negative) on specific sectors of the UK economy from such an agreement;
  • the extent to which any agreement could and should open up markets in services, including public services;
  • the extent to which any agreement could and should open up markets in public procurement;
  • how any agreement should approach regulation, including regulatory harmonisation;
  • what dispute-resolution mechanism should form part of any such agreement; and
  • what involvement, if any, the UK should seek to have in the North American Free Trade Area or any future regional free trade agreement involving the USA.

The Committee encourages those who did not send submissions to the previous inquiry to submit evidence to this one.

Individuals and organisations that did submit evidence to the previous Committee’s inquiry do not need to re-send their submissions, as that evidence can continue to be considered in this inquiry. This Committee would, however, welcome additional evidence from these stakeholders if they would like to submit an updated view.

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 17 November 2017. Written evidence should be submitted via the UK-US trade relations inquiry page.

Written evidence submitted should:

  • Have a one-page summary at the front
  • Be no longer than 3,000 words 

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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