Mr Mnuchin made his remarks during his appearance at Chatham House in London this morning, where he spoke on the subject of the Future of the Global Order. Addressing the push for a wide-ranging US/UK trade agreement, Mr Mnuchin said: “”We’re focused on trying to get this done this year because we think it’s important to both of us.”
He said that after the United States recently concluded the initial phase of a trade agreement with China, deals with Britain and the European Union were now the focus.
As such, the Trump administration was “prepared to dedicate a lot of resources” to the negotiation of a wide-ranging deal, Mr Mnuchin stressed.
He added: “This will be a very important relationship
“The president said the UK will be at the top of the list.”
He acknowledge thrashing out an agreement by the end of the year would be challenging but added: “I think a lot of issues can be dealt with.
“If anything, I think there will be significantly more trade between the US and the UK.”
He stressed there would be “issues to resolve” betweent the UK and the EU before any agreement would be possible.
He also indicated a trade deal between the US and the EU, which have been locked in a tit-for-tat trade dispute in recent years, was likely to be more challenging, given the impossibility of negotiating directly with individual partners within the bloc.
The US was also focused on narrowing its trade gap with the EU, he said.
During a Q and A after his talk, Mr Mnuchin acknowledged the US did have security concerns about the possibility of the UK incorporating Huawei into its 5G network, as well as the possible imposition of a digital tax (DST) in the UK which could target US tech giants, and said he had discussed both issues with opposite number Chancellor Sajid Javid during his visit.
However, he stressed his confidence that these could be resolved.
He said: “We believe that DST is a discriminatory tax and discussions are ongoing on that.”
Mr Mnuchin was speaking days after Mr Trump’s appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The President told reporters: “We look forward to negotiating a tremendous new deal with the United Kingdom.
“They have a wonderful new prime minister who very much wants to make a deal, as they say.”