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U.S. ‘Can’t Even Imagine’ Negotiating Post-Brexit Trade Deal with Britain Under Corbyn

Chris J Ratcliffe/Justin Sullivan/Getty

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said he “can’t even imagine” trying to negotiate a trade pact with Jeremy Corbyn, who leads Britain’s opposition Labour Party, after Brexit.

Ross had previously indicated that Britain would be “at the front of the queue” for a free trade agreement with the U.S. once it leaves the European Union, according to reports. This represented a sea-change in attitude since the notoriously anti-British administration of Barack Obama was in office.

President Trump was enthusiastic about an Anglo-American deal when asked if he thought one could be made shortly after he won the 2016 election, saying: “Absolutely, very quickly. I’m a big fan of the UK; we’re gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly — good for both sides.”

Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage, who is close to President Trump, said he believes such a deal could be finalised in as little as 90 days.

But it seems the administration is sceptical that a deal being done under Corbyn, a 68-year-old socialist described as “radically anti-American” by the U.S. press. Asked what he thought it would be like to work with Corbyn, Ross replied: “I can’t even imagine what those negotiations would be like.”

Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was in Washington D.C. on the same day Brexit secretary David Davis began formal departure negotiations with the EU, laying the groundwork for an Anglo-American trade pact.

“This visit will help lay the groundwork for a potential future UK-US free trade agreement and the practical steps we can take now in order to enable companies in both countries to trade and do business with one another more easily,” he said.

Afterwards, Ross indicated that talks had “got off to a good start”, and said that Dr. Fox had “honoured us by coming to [our] country first”.

“I think these negotiations [with Dr. Fox] got off to a good start and more importantly they will have a happy finish,” the U.S. commerce secretary added.

EU member-states are not allowed to conduct an independent trade policy, as the bloc operates as a customs union.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery


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