London and Washington begin two days of trade talks

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The UK on Monday began two days of talks with the US, hoping for progress to secure a coveted post-Brexit free trade deal.

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International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan was hosting her US counterpart Katherine Tai in Aberdeen, northeast Scotland, and London.

The pair previously met in Baltimore at the end of March, and announced an agreement to end tariffs on steel and aluminum imports imposed by former US president Donald Trump.

Trevelyan made no mention of a free trade deal in comments Sunday night before the talks, instead calling the meeting a “second transatlantic dialogue” that would focus on “agreed priority areas.”

They include the digital and innovation sectors, sustainable trade, supporting small- and medium-sized businesses, and supply chain resilience.

“This dialogue gives us a platform to explore more modern, digital ways of trading,” Trevelyan said.

“It will identify and resolve barriers to trade to make it cheaper and easier for businesses in Scotland and throughout the UK to do business with our US friends.”

The UK left the European Union in full in January 2021, and has been seeking deals across the world to boost international trade.

An agreement with Washington is seen as a priority but President Joe Biden’s administration has been more lukewarm than his predecessor.

Biden, an Irish-American, and senior Democrats have warned Johnson a deal will be off the table if London’s lingering row with Brussels over post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland affects the hard-won peace.

The UK and pro-UK parties in the British-run province claim the special arrangement governing the transport of goods from mainland Great Britain has cast Northern Ireland adrift, threatening its sovereignty.

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