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UK International Trade Minister Insists US Trade Talks Making Progress

Mon, 14th Sep 2020 19:15

(Alliance News) - UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has denied the UK's trade deal negotiations with the US are faltering.

The International Trade Secretary appeared before MPs to celebrate the signing of the UK-Japan free trade agreement, claiming it was a "major moment in our national history".

But the Cabinet minister also faced questions about the progress of talks with the US.

Responding to Labour MP Barry Sheerman's comment that a trade deal with the US is "lost", Truss replied: "It is not true that our deal with the US is not progressing.

"On the contrary, we're in the middle of a very positive negotiating round where we're currently discussing market access terms."

Labour's Stephen Kinnock also asked: "Can the Secretary of State guarantee that President Trump's completely unrealistic and unreasonable Section 232 tariff on UK steel will be removed from the trade negotiations with the US as a precondition for those negotiations to proceed?"

Truss replied: "Well we are in active negotiations with the US and one of the things I've been really clear about is the fact that we need to see those unfair 232 tariffs on our steel removed."

Shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry earlier congratulated Truss on securing the trade deal with Japan but added that much remains unclear.

She told the Commons: "In the absence of a treaty text and a full updated impact assessment there is much about the UK-Japan agreement that we still do not know and will not know until documents are published."

She added: "As welcome and necessary as this deal with Japan is, it is nothing like as important in terms of our global trade as reaching a deal to maintain free trade with the EU."

Truss confirmed Parliament will have the final say on the UK-Japan trade deal.

She explained: "Under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act, Parliament can refuse to ratify trade deals. Parliament has the power that other parliaments have."

She added: "So if there is not a majority in Parliament, this deal will simply not be ratified."

Truss also faced calls to publish the state aid clauses of the UK-Japan agreement.

Liberal Democrat former minister Alistair Carmichael said: "The Financial Times article to which other members have referred does say that David Frost is concerned that the Secretary of State has given away more in relation to level playing field issues than he is offering to the EU.

"Now if that is correct then that is very serious indeed.

"Will the Secretary of State commit to publishing the state aid clauses now?"

The International Trade Secretary replied: "We are still in the legal scrubbing process with Japan. Once that process is finished we will be sharing our text with the Trade Committee and they will be fully analysing it."

By Sophie Morris, Richard Wheeler, George Ryan and Lewis McKenzie, PA Political Staff

source: PA

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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