Brown seeks to strengthen trade links with US

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The Chancellor today sought to strengthen trade links between Britain and the Unnited States and head off a potentially damaging trade war.

Gordon Brown said both countries believed in free and fair trade and pledged to work with President George Bush's administration to improve trade as well as tackle terrorism.

Mr Brown travelled to the CBI's national conference in Birmingham with his US counterpart John Snow. The two men had breakfast together and appeared alongside each other at the gathering of business leaders.

Mr Brown announced a series of measures aimed at strengthening links including an enterprise agreement and a technology transfer fund under which British students will be able to study in US universities.

Mr Brown said today's announcement would lead to stronger relations between America and the whole of Europe.

"We know that damaging trade and regulatory disputes between Europe and the USA have hindered commerce and damaged transatlantic relations. It is time now for us all to make the effort to move beyond them," he said.

Mr Brown said there would be an independent study on removing trade barriers and agreeing new approaches to competition and regulation which could be worth $100 billion (£60bn) and create one million extra jobs in Europe and the US.

As part of today's announcement, universities will be offered incentives to forge closer links in research and technology with US universities.

Enterprise scholarships for management studies will be created in both countries and a joint forum will be held next year to discuss how productivity can be improved.

Mr Brown said he also had an ambition for Britain to embrace a wider and deeper entrepreneurial culture.

He wanted young people in schools and colleges to be enthused with the spirit of enterprise and areas of high unemployment to be shown that enterprise was a solution.

The Chancellor said that from a "stop-go" economy Britain was now one of the world's most stable and growing economies which had created a British model for stability.

"I believe we can create a stronger, deeper enterprise culture that will help us take our rightful place in the global economy.

"I believe we can build a shared commitment to enterprise and wealth creation stretching across all communities of our country."

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said today: "Gordon Brown has been forced to address this issue because recent damaging and illegal unilateral action by the Bush administration has set back the cause of international free trade by years.

"A special transatlantic trade arrangement, of the sort championed recently by Iain Duncan Smith, and now by Gordon Brown, would appear to the rest of the world as an attempt to exclude them from negotiations on the future of free liberalisation.

"Global agreement under the auspices of the WTO is still the best way to ensure that trade barriers are brought down and the benefits of free trade are available to all countries."