Rishi Sunak blames U.S. trade deal failure on pandemic and war in Ukraine | Political News

Rishi Sunak has refused to accept the government’s failure to reach a trade deal with the US as a “broken word” and blamed the “changing situation” on the pandemic and war in Ukraine.

During his visit to the US, the prime minister was asked whether he accepted “de facto” the Conservatives’ ambition in their 2019 manifesto to not strike a deal with Washington within their first three years in office.

He said: “I think you have to look at the macroeconomic situation. It has changed since then and what matters is that economic partnerships evolve to address the opportunities and threats of today.

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“If you look at what’s happening now, there are more threats to our economic security. So it’s important that the UK and the US are actually talking about how we can strengthen our resilience and work together to improve the strength of our supply chains. “

It remains a “broken promise” that Mr Sunak was pressed.

“Since then, we’ve had a pandemic. We’ve had a war in Ukraine, which has changed the macroeconomic picture,” he said.

“The right response to this is to ensure that we focus our engagement, economically, on the things that have the greatest impact on the British people.”

The prime minister has been told that war and the pandemic have not stopped the UK from reaching deals with other countries since Brexit.

He said the UK had “increased 20% of its trade with the US last year”, noting that the US had invested £14bn in UK jobs.

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He insisted that “the real challenge we face is a threat to our economic security,” which is what he will discuss when he meets with President Joe Biden later today.

“I think that’s something we should be focusing on right now,” he added.

En route to Washington, Mr Sunak acknowledged that a free trade agreement with the US had “not been a priority for both countries for some time”.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson and his government had seen a U.S. trade deal as a major Brexit bonus, while President Trump insisted in 2017 that Britain was “at the top of the line”.

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But Mr Johnson will be forced in 2021 to admit that the US has “Lots of fish to fry” The 2024 election may not result in a trade deal.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “clear” that the Conservatives had failed to deliver on their promises of a trade deal.

He told reporters: “In 2019, the Conservatives said in their manifesto that they would have a trade deal with the US by 2022. So it’s clear, among many other promises, that they missed that promise.

“But that’s not the only failure. They don’t have a strategy, they don’t have a way to move the country forward, what we need is an industrial strategy, a growth plan.”

Sir Keir accused Mr Sunak of focusing only on “managing” the Conservative Party following reports he had accepted an aristocratic recommendation from Mr Johnson.

The prime minister declined to say whether this was true, saying the honors process had not yet concluded and “it would not be my place to comment further until it is concluded”.

Speaking on a visit to British Steelworks in Scunthorpe, Sir Keir said: “As always the Tories talk about the Tories and how they appease different parts of their own party. Whether it’s Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages, Boris Johnson’s nobles Guys, what the prime minister does is run his own party, not the country.”

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