Sunak denies broken US trade deal promise, cites pandemic and Ukraine war

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has defended the government’s inability to secure a trade deal with the United States, attributing the delay to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Sunak, who is currently visiting the US, was asked if he accepted that the Conservatives had not fulfilled their 2019 manifesto pledge to strike a deal with Washington within the first three years of government. He responded by pointing to the evolving macroeconomic situation and the need for economic partnerships to adapt to the opportunities and challenges of today.

Sunak highlighted the importance of the UK and US working together to strengthen their resilience and improve supply chain security in the face of growing economic threats. When pressed on whether this constituted a “broken promise,” Sunak cited the pandemic and the war in Ukraine as factors that had changed the macroeconomic landscape.

Despite these challenges, the UK has managed to increase its trade with the US by 20% last year and secure a £14bn investment from the US into British jobs. Sunak emphasised that the focus should be on addressing the threats to economic security, which he plans to discuss with President Joe Biden during their meeting.

Sunak admitted that a free trade agreement with the US has not been a priority for either country for some time. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government had promoted a US trade deal as a significant benefit of Brexit, with President Trump stating in 2017 that the UK was “at the front of the queue.” However, Johnson conceded in 2021 that the US had “a lot of fish to fry” and that a trade deal might not be achieved by the 2024 general election.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised the Conservatives for failing to deliver on their promise of a trade agreement with the US. He argued that the government lacked a strategy and a plan for growth, accusing Sunak of focusing on “managing” the Conservative Party rather than addressing the country’s needs. The prime minister declined to comment on whether he had accepted Johnson’s recommendations for peerages, stating that the honours process had not yet concluded.

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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