Background

Following a Jan. 27 meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S. President Donald Trump and United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to work toward a bilateral free trade agreement that could take effect shortly after the UK formally exits the European Union, which is expected to occur in early 2019.

May said the two sides are “discussing how we can establish a trade negotiation agreement, take forward immediate high-level talks, [and] lay the groundwork for a U.K.-U.S. trade agreement.” According to press sources, joint negotiating groups will be established to “scope out” what progress can be achieved during the Brexit process so that an agreement can be signed “as soon as possible” once that process is complete.

May said the agreement will also be used to “identify the practical steps we can take now in order to enable companies in both countries to trade and do business with one another more easily.” Such steps could include removing mobile phone roaming charges, the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, and removing non-tariff barriers to U.S. imports of certain UK agriculture and food products.

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