The chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) says it is “great news” that Britain and the United States are to begin negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade agreement.
Dr Liz Cameron said Europe and the US are key markets in which to sell Scottish produce and are, therefore, critical to supporting Scotland’s economic recovery from the coronavirus outbreak.
She said: “While the majority of Scottish businesses are focusing on the immediate crisis which Covid-19 has presented us with, it is vital that we continue to balance the need to keep our foot on the accelerator with regard to International Trade negotiations.
“The government has set a high ambition for talks with the USA. The devil is in the detail and it is therefore important to increase the pace over the coming months to ensure tangible benefits for Scotland.
“SCC are part of the UK’s Strategic Trade Advisory Group and have been already contributing into this particular trade agreement, with others to follow,” she added.
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer will open trade talks with a video conference call on Tuesday.
The first round of negotiations will then continue for around two weeks, with around 100 negotiators on each side taking part.
Further rounds will take place approximately every six weeks with talks being conducted remotely until it is safe to travel again.
At official level, the talks will be led by Oliver Griffiths at the Department for International Trade for the UK and Daniel Mullaney, the assistant US trade representative for Europe and the Middle East.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has long argued that a free trade deal with the US is one of the great prizes to be gained from leaving the EU, providing a major boost to the economy.
However, critics have warned that striking a deal will require Britain to accept looser US food and environmental standards as well as opening up the NHS to American firms – something the government denies.