US says a UK trade deal ‘unlikely’ before November




America’s top trade negotiator has said a deal with the UK is unlikely before the US presidential election in November.

Ambassador Robert Lighthizer’s comments come as the two countries embark on a second round of negotiations.

Among the issues complicating the talks are disagreements over US agriculture exports and UK taxes on tech companies.

“There are very, very fundamental issues that we have to come to grips with,” Mr Lighthizer said.

“I don’t want anyone to think this is going to be a rollover.”

Chlorinated chicken

The two countries, which exchange £230bn worth of trade each year, started a second round of talks on Monday, after opening formal negotiations last month.

Mr Lighthizer told Congress that the US is looking for a comprehensive deal – not a more limited agreement of the kind it has settled for in other instances.

He said he expected to push for access to the UK market for American farmers, describing many of the standards that limit US food exports – such as those regarding chlorinated chicken – as “thinly veiled protectionism”.

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