The Wait Continues for Trade Talks Notes from the CEO – March 2021
At the time of writing, the confirmation of the two most significant political appointments for the transatlantic trade and investment portfolio is imminent. Governor Gina Raimondo will lead the US Commerce Department and Katherine Tai will be the new US Trade Representative. Biden’s nominee for US Trade Representative is generally well regarded in Congress, after years working with the Ways and Means Committee, and at her recent confirmation hearing, among questions about multilateralism and protecting US industry and workers, Tai’s response to a question about the UK-US trade negotiations was that she would “review the objectives in light of all the changes” that have taken place in the world since the start of the process in 2018.
Her comments suggest nothing will be signed before the current Trade Promotion Authority expires, which complicates the timeline and pushes any possible deal into 2022. Understandably, this will have disappointed many in the UK, given how significant the UK-US trade negotiations are in the ‘Global Britain’ agenda. A Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement would indeed reaffirm and strengthen one of the world’s strongest bilateral trade and investment relationships.