PUBLISHED: 08:33, Thu, Oct 8, 2020 | UPDATED: 08:35, Thu, Oct 8, 2020
Wilbur Ross talked up the prospect of an agreement between the two global superpowers over the coming months and said trade talks between them are progressing well with no “unsurmountable” issues emerging. Britain has been locked in crunch talks with the European Union for much of this year, with the deadline set by Boris Johnson of October 15 to come to terms on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). But negotiations have also been ongoing with Washington, with a fifth round of talks, many of which have been taking place virtually because of the continued coronavirus pandemic, due to begin later this month.
An upbeat Mr Ross said a deal is unlikely to be secured this year but expressed "very little doubt" both sides will reach an agreement in the new year.
Mr Ross added agricultural standards remains one of the key sticking points after the four rounds of talks, with the US wanting to be able to sell agricultural products into Britain using standards which the EU had not allowed.
But he insisted he there are no significant problems that has seen either negotiating team declare “I’m putting down my pencil”.
The US commerce chief told The Daily Telegraph: “A lot of progress has been made on agreeing texts and we certainly have clarified some differences, certainly clarified some points of agreement.
Brexit news: The fate of a UK-US trade deal could depend on Donald Trump winning the election (Image: GETTY)
Brexit news: Wilbur Ross said he has 'very little doubt' over a UK-US trade deal (Image: GETTY)
“Ambassador (Robert) Lighthizer (the US Trade Representative) and I and others feel it’s not so likely that we'll have a deal by the end of December.
"But as to whether we will get a deal, I have very little doubt.”
However, Republican Mr Ross warned trade talks would certainly be delayed if Joe Biden wins the election and takes office at the inauguration on January 20.
He said the Democratic presidential nominee taking on Mr Trump would first have to appoint his own trade representative, secure that person’s approval by the Senate, and potentially get new UK-US negotiation objectives signed off by Congress.
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Brexit news: The US commerce chief said substantial progress has been made in trade talks with the UK (Image: GETTY)