Free trade between the UK and the United States is essential to economic recovery and prosperity in both countries, the Scottish Secretary told US business leaders yesterday.
Michael Moore warned there were still “significant barriers” to trade and called for the European and US leaders to hold crunch talks aimed at securing a transatlantic free trade agreement in 2013.
The EU-US High Level Working Group will report on this issue before the end of the year. The creation of such an agreement is one of the UK government’s top trade priorities and would promote growth and jobs in both economies.
Mr Moore said: “The UK and US continue to gain strength from one another. Our common values, goals and language make us natural trading partners and our relationship has gone from strength to strength over the years.
“We cannot be complacent, especially as we are so interlinked at an economic level, providing millions of jobs through investment in our respective countries.
“The UK government wants to see that relationship lead to more prosperity and growth in the coming years. The transformation of the UK’s tax and regulatory environment, coupled with a focused industrial strategy, is sending a clear message to the world that the UK is open for business – and a great place to invest.”
Last year, Scotland exported about £3 billion of goods to the US market.
The minister stressed the importance of the relationship for Scotland, saying the UK and the US were the largest investors in each other’s economies.
“A transatlantic free trade agreement with the US would be very positive for both the EU and US, liberalising our markets and could bring economic benefits similar to the creation of the single market,” he added.
The Scottish Secretary is visiting the US and Canada this week to promote Scottish interests and trade.