Blog: Joe Biden slaps down UK tech talks in latest threat to special relationship – Express

Joe Biden has slapped down UK attempts to open tech talks, it has been reported, marking the US president’s latest blow to the special relationship. The Biden administration has repeatedly snubbed Downing Street’s request to cooperate on tech and set international standards, with one official saying US officials “don’t want to irritate the Europeans”.

A former Downing Street official told Politico that the UK had been hoping to set up an arrangement replicating the US-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC), which allows Commission’s executive Vice-Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis to shape tech and trade policies with a direct line to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

The anonymous official also noted that the US “don’t want to irritate the Europeans” by having separate talks with the UK.

The ex-UK official said British trade officials did “speak to Gina Raimondo about that, saying ‘we think it would be a good opportunity,” but failed to convince the US Commerce chief.

A spokesperson for the Sunak Government told POLITICO: “The UK remains committed to working closely with the US and EU to further our shared trade and technology objectives, through the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the US-UK Future of Atlantic Trade dialogues, and the UK-US technology partnership.

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“We will continue to advance UK interests in trade and technology and explore further areas of cooperation with partners where it is mutually beneficial.”

Biden had previously rejected Britain’s push for new trade ties because of the Brexit dispute over the Northern Ireland protocol.

The US President had insisted he would not agree to talks with the UK if the row with the EU threatened the Good Friday Agreement.

He reiterated his commitment to peace by highlighting his Irish heritage on several occasions as well as noting his work as a senator in pushing the Clinton administration to act as a broker for peace on the island.

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But with the EU and the UK coming to a new agreement over the nation’s trade arrangements, the UK has renewed its interest in securing a new deal with Washington.

US-based business leaders have also urged Biden to commit to trade negotiations with London as quickly as possible.

National Foreign Trade Council president Jake Colvin said the new framework agreed upon between London and Brussels would open “advancing opportunity” for US trade.

Colvin said: “The friction over trade with Northern Ireland has been a stumbling block to a US-UK Free Trade Agreement.

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“If the Windsor Framework can break the impasse over trade with Northern Ireland, the Biden Administration ought to move quickly to discuss a comprehensive trade deal with the UK, which would enjoy significant bipartisan support in Congress.

“Resolving this deadlock would unlock a real opportunity for the Biden Administration to demonstrate its commitment to advancing opportunities for America’s workers, businesses and farmers and creating stronger economic ties with a crucial ally.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be heading to Washington this week to sign his defence budget.

He has been urged to use the opportunity to advance Britain’s bid for a stronger alliance with Joe Biden.

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