US-UK trade talks at risk from coronavirus

Britain released its trade objectives for a U.S. deal on March 2 | Will Russell/Getty Images

US-UK trade talks at risk from coronavirus

The two sides are set to discuss the situation.

By

3/12/20, 6:57 PM CET

Updated 3/12/20, 7:16 PM CET

LONDON — Trade talks between the United Kingdom and the United States could be put on hold because of coronavirus, the British government confirmed.

The Department for International Trade said discussions were still due to begin at the end of March, but added that the plans could change.

“We have published our negotiation objectives for a U.K.-U.S. free-trade agreement and talks are due to begin at the end of this month,” a spokesperson said. “Of course, we will keep the situation under review and will be guided by scientific advice.”

The U.K. and the U.S. are set to discuss the situation in the coming days.

Britain released its trade objectives for a U.S. deal on March 2. In the same week, a government official said talks were expected to begin in the middle of the month, suggesting the virus has already pushed the start date back.

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump banned Europeans from the Schengen zone from arriving in the U.S. for 30 days in a bid to stem the spread of the virus, although the U.K. and Ireland were exempt from the ban. The measure will take effect from Friday.

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