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Free Trade Agreement: US

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 20 January 2022

We have had five productive rounds of negotiations to date and have agreed a significant proportion of the legal text across multiple chapters.

The 2018 Tory manifesto on which the Minister stood said that a trade agreement with the US would be completed by the end of 2022, but the agreement is shrouded in secrecy. As the Secretary of State said, she toured the US last month, playing up what she described as a “massive opportunity”. Can the Minister advise us at what stage the negotiations are now, and confirm that the promise to the electorate will be fulfilled and a deal put before this House by the end of the year?

I have just outlined where we are to date in terms of how much has been written and agreed to. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman did not congratulate my right hon. Friend on having started discussions on section 232 and the announcement that was made yesterday by the Administration. He will know that we are concurrently negotiating memorandums of understanding with states. These things can only be done at state level; I am talking about regulated and regulator discussions, mutual recognition of qualifications and so forth, which will reduce massively the cost of doing business with the United States. We are making good progress on that twin-track approach. If he thinks that we should move a little faster, perhaps he might like to say that to the US Administration.