Trade talks between the UK and the US, relating to a post-Brexit agreement, will begin today.
Negotiations will take place via video conference, due to the coronavirus lockdown, with the first round of talks expected to last two weeks.
Following the completion of the initial discussions, further sessions relating to a future trade deal will commence every six weeks until a new deal is signed.
The UK government is seeking to lower tariffs on exports and boost trade in services in the US.
US President Donald Trump, and the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) have both stated that they hope to negotiate a quick deal.
The UK government is hoping that by eliminating tariffs and reducing other trade barriers with the US, the economy could rise between 0.07% and 0.16% over the next five years.
Ahead of the start of the US talks, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Increasing transatlantic trade can help our economies bounce back from the economic challenge posed by coronavirus.
“As we sit down at the negotiating table, be assured that we will drive a hard bargain to secure a deal that benefits individuals and businesses in every region and nation of the UK.”
Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General said: “While the attention of most businesses right now is to get through the COVID crisis, it’s vital that we keep one eye to the future and how we can plan for an economic recovery.
“The start of these talks offer a sign of hope to businesses. The US and UK already share the world’s largest bilateral investment relationship and an ambitious deal should offer opportunities for all regions and nations of the UK.”
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said: “For small businesses, the US is the number one single market of choice for importers and exporters for the next three years, which is why these negotiations are so critical.
“Exporting will be crucial for many small businesses to support their recovery from the pandemic and that is why it’s crucial to see a reduction in tariff and non-tariff barriers.
“With our economy likely to be suppressed for some time, we are going to need small businesses that trade to lead the way. The prospects of a trade-led recovery would be lifted by progress in trade negotiations with the EU as our nearest trading bloc, the US as the largest global economy, as well as other nations already bouncing back after COVID-19 such as China.
“Our own findings suggest that the US is the most important individual country market for small firms hoping to export over the next three years, with 46% selecting the country.
“Small businesses are already the backbone of the UK’s domestic economy. And especially in these difficult times, we now need to see their share of global trade start to catch up. We can do this by putting SMEs front and centre of all new trade agreements.
“Securing a pro-small business free trade agreement, which includes a comprehensive and dedicated small business chapter, will be essential to addressing the needs and distinct challenges that small firms face when engaged in transatlantic trade.”