Biden, Sunak Demur on US-UK Trade Deal

President Biden and the UK’s Rishi Sunak announced a research and investment deal that came up well-short of a long-awaited announcement on full-scale free trade negotiations.

It was not the comprehensive trade deal effort US farm groups were hoping for. Biden said; “We’ve launched negotiations on critical materials and an agreement to deal with climate crisis, number one. Number two, cooperating on data and AI.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refuted a BBC reporter that the new Atlantic Declaration was an admission of failure on free trade, arguing instead it met the needs of the moment. Sunak; “It means stronger supply chains, with a new action plan on clean energy, and it means reducing trade barriers in the technologies of the future, with a new, secure U.S.-UK data bridge, helping tens of thousands of small businesses.”

But agriculture remains a stumbling block to a full trade deal, something USDA Under Secretary for Trade Alexis Taylor pointed to on a call with farm reporters ahead of the Biden-Sunak session.

Taylor; “We have seen some positive outcomes as they are wrapping their arms around regulation of gene-edited technologies. But there continue to be, I think, philosophical differences with our partners in the UK, that we continue to engage with them on.”

The American Soybean Association and other ag groups just urged House members to back legislation to help spur a comprehensive market access deal.

But the latest Biden-Sunak announcement is more evidence President Biden is not keen on doing politically difficult trade deals that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says aren’t popular outside U.S. agriculture.

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