LONDON (Reuters) - Britain outlined its negotiating mandate for talks with the United States on Monday, with the hope of reducing tariffs while shielding the public health service and protecting food and animal welfare standards.
Here are some key sections from the mandate document:
The government said the role of the National Health Service (NHS) will not be on the table in the talks.
“The price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table,” the document said. “The services the NHS provides will not be on the table. The NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or domestic.”
The government said its analysis showed a deal with the United States, which involved full tariff liberalisation and a 50% reduction in non-tariff measures, would increase the size of the British economy by 0.16%.
The document said if there is a substantial tariff liberalisation and a 25% reduction in non-tariff measures the boost to the economy will be a more modest 0.07%
The government said it would maintain high standards for consumers and workers, including on food and animal welfare.
“Any agreement will ensure high standards and protections for consumers and workers, and will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards,” the document said.
Britain said it wants to expand opportunities for UK financial services but the impact of a trade deal on the UK’s most important economic sector is “uncertain”.
The government said it wants to reduce tariffs on goods and win improved access for service companies.
The aim for goods is to “secure broad liberalisation of tariffs on a mutually beneficial basis, taking into account UK product sensitivities, in particular for UK agriculture.”
The government also wants to “secure ambitious commitments from the U.S. on market access and fair competition for UK services.”
The government said it would consider opposition to its plan to impose a new digital tax on big tech companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon as part of its ambition to agree a free trade deal.
“We note comments regarding digital taxation and will consider this as part of our policy development,” the document said.
The government said any system to protect U.S. companies’ interests in the country after a free trade agreement - typically a sensitive issue for civil society groups worried about the power of multinationals - would have to be fair and transparent.
“The government also notes the range of perspectives regarding the potential inclusion of investment protection and an associated Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism,” the document said.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by William James and Kate Holton