January 2, 2020
The United Kingdom appears on a clear path to exit the European Union following last month’s elections which delivered a majority to the Brexit-backing prime minister, Boris Johnson. If the U.K. exits the EU by the Jan. 31 deadline, how quickly could the U.S. negotiate a bi-lateral trade deal? The chief agriculture negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) says it will happen very quickly.
“I think people will be amazed how quickly we are going to be able to hit the ground running in negotiating with the U.K. if that opportunity arises,” Chief Ag Trade Negotiator Gregg Doud told Farm Journal’s DC Signal to Noise Podcast.
“We’ve already gone through, with Congress and Trade Promotion Authority, the negotiating objectives which is kind of the prerequisite discussions. That’s already done,” Doud said.
The U.S. already enjoys an ag trade surplus, selling $2 billion worth of ag exports to the U.K. while purchasing $824 million in ag goods in 2018 according to USTR. The top categories for ag sales to the U.K. are wine and beer, tree nuts, prepared food, soybeans and live animals. Overall, the U.K. is the United States’ 7th largest trading partner.
Doud said the lessons learned from 2019 trade negotiations with Canada, Mexico, Japan and China will benefit the U.S. trade team in finalizing a deal with the United Kingdom.
“We really kind of feel like we’re a seasoned team around here,” Doud said. “We’ve got a few of these deals under our belt with this administration. We kind of really know what we’re doing now and I’m looking forward to a chance to roll up our sleeves with the U.K.”