Liam Fox heads to Washington to meet US president Donald Trump's administration and lay groundwork for US-UK trade deal

 
Helen Cahill
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The working group will discuss trade over two days (Source: Getty)

Trade secretary Liam Fox will travel to Washington today to start laying the groundwork for a trade deal with President Donald Trump's administration.

Fox will meet US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to set up a working group which will focus on bilateral trade and investment.

Read more: Liam Fox: EU deal should be "one of the easiest in human history" to strike

Currently, trade between America and Britain is worth over £150bn a year, and Fox has said that liberalising trade with the US could add another £40bn in trade.

The US and the UK will not be able to strike a free trade agreement until the UK has left the EU, but on the two-day visit the working group will investigate how to strengthen ties between businesses ahead of Brexit.

Fox said: "Although it's too early to say exactly what would be covered in a potential deal, the working group is the means to ensure we get to know each other's issues and identify areas where we can work together to strengthen trade and investment ties."

Fox will also meet with US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and have a dinner with UK and US business representatives.

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Fox will meet with US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross (Source: Getty)

Trump backed a speedy trade deal with the UK early in his presidency, with his top adviser Ted Malloch saying back in January that Britain had "jumped to the front of the queue".

Meanwhile, Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, has cautioned the UK against mass deregulation if it wants a free trade deal with the bloc after Brexit.

Speaking to the Lords select committee earlier this month, Barnier said that if the UK used Brexit as a chance to cut red tape, "everything is over".

After his trip in the US, Fox will head to Mexico to discuss trade with Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico's economy minister.

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