New UK trade minister visits United States in first trip overseas



LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Britain's new trade minister Kemi Badenoch will visit New York on Wednesday in her first overseas trip, where she will stress the importance of the United States as a trading partner even as talks over a free trade deal between the countries are blocked.

Liz Truss, who became prime minister this month, has said that Britain is not prioritising a free trade deal with the United States "in the short to medium term".

Truss, herself a former trade minister, had previously highlighted such a deal with the United States as a key opportunity of leaving the European Union.

Badenoch will highlight the importance of U.S. investment in Britain even in absence of a free trade agreement.

"The US is our single most important trade, defence and security partner," Badenoch will say at the Atlantic Future Forum, a conference hosted by Britain aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in New York Harbour.

"The UK is a low-tax, high-talent, innovation nation and I will show America's biggest companies that we are ready to be their investment partner of choice."

It is now cheaper for Americans to invest in Britain than it was, with sterling down more than 7% against the dollar so far this month. Investors have baulked at Truss' plans for unfunded tax cuts, while the U.S. Federal Reserve has been more aggressive in raising rates than the Bank of England.

The trade ministry said Britain will continue to talk to U.S. states about memorandums of understanding on trade, aiming to do deals with Oklahoma and South Carolina in the coming months. The MOUs have been criticised by government opponents as having little economic impact.

During the two-day trip, Badenoch will also talk to her U.S. counterpart, Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and meet New York based investors.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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