As the UK approaches the end of its transition period, it has begun negotiating with many countries for free trade arrangements. The US and the UK have enjoyed a special close relationship over the years, and a deal with America is a priority for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Trade Minister Liz Truss has announced that Britain has no deadline to strike a deal with the US.
But despite the boost of time, Liz Truss has criticised the US administration for restricting import access while claiming free trade.
Truss told a parliamentary committee: “We’re not going to rush into a deal and there is no deadline.
“We will be tough in pressing our interests.”
Truss continued: “The US talk a good game about free trade and low tariffs.
“But the reality is that many UK products have been kept unfairly out of their markets.”
She also cited US tariffs on British steel, as well as the threats of further tariffs on cars and US-centric procurement schemes which restrict access to government contracts as examples of US blocks on UK products.
Truss also said that the US’ ban on lamb exports amounted to protectionism.
Truss concluded: “Let me be clear.
“I am not going to strike a trade deal with the US, unless all these points are dealt with.
“No deal is better than a bad deal.”
Truss said she expected a couple of chapters of the deal to be finalised during the next round of talks, but did not specify which.
It comes as a survey of 2,000 British consumers suggested that a majority are against imports of lower standard food.
A Which? poll showed that 86 percent of those surveyed were worried that weakened standards under a free trade agreement with the US could lead to banned products appearing in the UK.
They said this would include chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef used in schools, hospitals and restaurants.
In addition, 74 percent were opposed to importing food using those methods, which was consistent across different socio-economic groups.
The Which? survey also showed that 95 percent of people believe that it is important for the UK to maintain existing food standards.
It follows news that last week, the UK began free trade negotiations with New Zealand and Australia.
Japan has also been in negotiations with the UK, but has given Britain just six weeks to strike a deal.
Hiroshi Matsuura, Tokyo’s chief negotiator, said to Financial Times: “To avoid a gap in January, we must pass this in the autumn session of the Diet [the Japanese parliament].
“That means we must complete negotiations by the end of July.”