Are we at the back of queue? Eustice squirms as US-UK deal future thrown into question

George Eustice is grilled on trade deal between US and UK

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Environment Secretary George Eustice has been grilled on the US-UK trade deal by Dan Walker, who questioned whether the UK has now been placed “at the back of the queue” as the US focusses on other trade deals. . The grilling came after Joe Biden downplayed the chances of US-UK trade deal during Boris Johnsons’ visit to the White House on Tuesday. Mr Johnson had hailed the possibility of a new agreement with Washington as one of the many benefits of Brexit.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We’ve also got traded agreements with some 60 other countries around the world, and even with the US, although we don’t have a comprehensive Trade Agreement on Tariffs at the moment.

“And also resolving the tariff dispute on scotch whisky.

“Are Great Britain, are we at the back of the queue when it comes to this sort of thing?”

“It’s a choice of the United States that for the Biden administration trade deals just aren’t a priority at the moment.”

He went on: “And the important thing with any trade agreement actually is to get the detail of it right, not necessarily to put any sort of timescale on it or we’ll be in a particular rush.

“We still want to do a trade agreement with the United States, we’d still like to progress those discussions.

“But obviously if it’s not a priority for the Biden administration at the moment, well then that’s the position that we understand.”

Joe Biden suggested he had no intention of handing Boris Johnson a win on trade.

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Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office before the talks, Mr Biden said the pair would discuss trade “a little bit”, adding: “We’re going to have to work that through.”

A deal would encourage trade by making it cheaper – usually by reducing or eliminating taxes called tariffs.

Democratic Congressman Rep Brendan Boyle has previously said: “We have no plan, meetings on any sort of perspective US-UK trade deal.

“President Obama then five years ago famously said that any consideration of a bilateral trade deal would go to the back of the line or back of the queue, as you would say,

“And that’s no disrespect to the UK, it’s just a reality of so many other competing priorities for us in Congress.”
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