The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it would seek separate trade agreement talks with the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Japan. No specifics on the talks were announced, as they are only at the preliminary stages and would not be able to officially start until next year.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we will continue to expand U.S. trade and investment by negotiating trade agreements with Japan, the EU and the United Kingdom,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “Today’s announcement is an important milestone in that process. We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”

The letter to Congress announcing the U.K. trade talks said that that the administration hopes to address "both tariff and non-tariff barriers and to achieve free, fair and reciprocal trade."

Japan represents the world's third-largest economy and the U.K. the fifth, while the U.S. and EU engage in $1.1 trillion in annual trade.

By law, the administration must consult with Congress 90 days prior to entering into any talks with foreign governments.

The announcement comes as the U.S. is also contemplating potential tariffs on auto and auto parts imports. A report from the Commerce Department that would indicate whether tariffs are necessary is overdue. Business lobbyists believe the report has been delayed until after the midterm elections in November. All three trade partners would be heavily hit should tariffs be put into place.

Trade groups sounded cautious optimism regarding the news. The Chamber of Commerce said it was "pleased" by the news and would monitor the progress closely. "The U.S. Chamber will work with the administration and Congress throughout the negotiations to ensure forthcoming discussions result in free and fair trade as well as adhere to the important objectives set forth in Trade Promotion Authority," Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant said in a statement.

Republican free traders echoed the argument. "I am pleased that the administration is pursuing new trade agreements with several of our most important trading partners in accordance with Trade Promotion Authority," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.