LIZ TRUSS has admitted that a post-Brexit trade deal with the US may not be struck for many years to come. 

Speaking to reporters as she travelled to New York on her first foreign trip since taking office, the Prime Minister said negotiations were unlikely to start in the “medium term.”

The admission was leapt on by rivals. 

The SNP's Angus MacNeil, who chairs the Commons International Trade committee, said the new Tory leader

Ms Truss said her priority was working on securing an agreement with India, Gulf and Trans-Pacific nations like Australia, Canada and Japan.

The new Tory leader said: “In terms of trade, I mentioned getting [Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership]  accession, getting a trade deal with India, a deal with the [Gulf Cooperation Council ] – those are our trade priorities.”

On talks with the US, she admitted: “There aren’t currently any negotiations taking place with the US and I don’t have any expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term.”

Reports suggested this could mean no agreement before the next general election.

Ms Truss said her “number one issue” in talks with Joe Biden when they meet at the UN on Wednesday would be “global security and making sure that we are able to collectively deal with Russian aggression.

Just three years ago, Donald Trump had promised a “massive” trade deal with the UK following Brexit

The prospect of a bilateral agreement was touted as one of the biggest prizes of leaving the EU. 

However, the Prime Minister’s admission to journalists last night is the frankest admission yet that it may be a very distant prospect. 

So far the UK and the US have been striking smaller, and much less ambitious state-by-state agreements, with Britain signing deals with Indiana and North Carolina.

Ms Truss’s relations with the US president are already strained because of her threats to rip up the Northern Ireland protocol.

Mr Biden - who is fiercely proud of his Irish heritage and has close links to Dublin - has been reluctant to strike a trade deal with the UK as a result.

However, Culture minister Michelle Donelan played down any suggestion that the UK’s handling of the protocol was playing a role in the delay in securing a deal.

Appearing on Times Radio, she said the protocol has “nothing to do” with the lack of substantive trade talks, adding that the UK has a “strong relationship” with the US.

Mr MacNeil told The Herald, Ms Truss had won her post "by singing the song on trade deals."

"But the reality of trade deals is that they're not anything they were cooked up to be," he added. 

"Certainly for America, the UK is insignificant. It's as insignificant to them as New Zealand is to us, except that we really liberalised our agricultural market in that deal.

"Brexit's costing the UK 5 per cent of GDP and an American trade deal will only bring back about 0.2%.

"It's like spending £50 in the races and coming back with £2 in your pocket and thinking you're doing very well, except we aren't going to get the £2."

Mr MacNeil added: "To put these trade deals in some sort of context to make up the damage of Brexit, given America is a quarter of the world's GDP and given the numbers are 5% and 0.2%, we need to make trade deals with about six and a quarter planets' worth of Americans to match the damage that Brexit has done."

He said this would be a "sobering time" for Brexiteers: "Liz Truss is basically getting the bad news out fast in the early part of a premiership because it's going to be obvious that this isn't happening. She wants to get that monkey off her back."

During Ms Truss’s two-day trip to the US, she will hold a series of bilateral meetings with other leaders including the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and Emmanuel Macron.


It will be the first official meeting between the pair since the Tory leader said the “jury’s out” over whether the French president was “friend or foe”.

Last night, Ms Truss said she wanted to have a “constructive” relationship with France, working with Macron on migration, Brexit, energy security and Ukraine.

Labour’s Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, who is also in New York, said: “After being snubbed by the Biden administration within her first weeks in office, Liz Truss urgently needs to wake up to the damage her reckless approach to foreign policy is doing to the UK’s national interest.

“The Prime Minister must use the UN General Assembly to bring the UK back in from the cold and begin rebuilding our country’s diplomatic influence.”