Trump’s Trade Deal Chief: Britain at Front of the Queue

Wilbur Ross

The United States will seek out a trade deal with the United Kingdom as a top priority during the Trump Administration, his head of commerce has revealed.

While Billionaire businessman Wilbur Ross Jr., a vocal supporter of the Trump election campaign nominated as Commerce Secretary this week has not made a public statement on the matter, Britain’s Daily Telegraph has reported a “senior Trump source” who has emphasised the priority with which a British trade deal is treated.

The paper reports the American businessman has “extensive” financial and social links to the United Kingdom, values the special relationship, and wishes to break down trade barriers. The source said “It would be logical to expect that this might be high on the commerce department’s list of priorities”.

A potential future trade deal between the US and UK has been a hotly contested topic in the context of the EU referendum, with pro-Brexit campaigners promising a future of deals for Britain far superior to those negotiated by the European Union. Outgoing President Barack Obama seemed to pour water on these hopes when he said Britain would be “at the back of the queue” should it wish to leave the European Union.

But the strongly pro-Anglo sentiment of Mr. Trump and his Commerce Secretary Mr. Ross has apparently reversed this state of affairs. However despite best intentions in Washington and London, no deal could actually sign a deal until the UK had actually left the European Union, although negotiations could begin as soon as Mr. Trump becomes President.

Mr. Ross may be seen as a sign of the changing times in American trade policy. The Financial Times reports in a break with tradition Trump’s long-time friend Ross as Commerce Secretary would be setting policy tradition while the Trade Representative — normally a more senior position — would merely be responsible for implementing the decisions.

Commenting on past trade deals that haven’t necessarily been wholly advantageous to the USA, Mr. Ross said recently: “Free trade doesn’t mean dumb trade… we should treat ourselves as the world’s biggest customer and treat nations that are selling to us as suppliers to us”.

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