Calling for “fair, balanced, and reciprocal trade with the UK” and “state of the art rules” to achieve it, the U.S. Trade Representative has published an 18-page document of negotiating objectives for the forthcoming UK-U.S. trade deal both nations hope to strike if Britain finally leaves the European Union.
The new document, from President Trump’s Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s department, comes just weeks after President Trump himself said he was looking forward to “substantially increased” trade between the United Kingdom and the United States with the signing of a new trade deal.
U.S. Ambassador to London ‘Woody’ Johnson has repeatedly joined the President’s calls to get a deal sorted between the two countries.
Trump’s Ambassador: Britain First in Line for ‘Ambitious’ Trade Deal… If You Manage to Leave the EU https://t.co/3qESgb5RIC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 28, 2018
The United Kingdom is not presently able to sign trade deals because it is a member of the European Union. The British people voted to leave the continental power bloc in a 2016 referendum, but the nation’s political elite is generally opposed to the move and plans to frustrate the departure are advanced.
Regardless, Britain is theoretically set to depart the European Union on the legally mandated date of March 29th 2019 and looking forward to enjoying greater freedom on international trade policy after Brexit, with the U.S. document noting the “new opportunities” it would create.
Highlighting the importance of trade between the two countries even now under the EU’s tariff regime, the document notes: “As the first and fifth biggest global economies, the U.S. economic relationship with the UK is one of the largest and most complex in the world, with annual two-way trade totaling more than $230 billion. Despite this significant trade volume, multiple tariff and non-tariff barriers have challenged U.S. exporters in key sectors while the UK has been a Member State of the EU…”
President Trump Hails ‘Very Substantially Increased’ Trade With United Kingdom Post-Brexit https://t.co/aQNGLhnTpY
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 15, 2019
Critics of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union claim that the move could see food prices rising for consumers, but trade deals such as the proposed deal with the United States would see Britain able to import food from around the globe in future tariff-free, and not just from the European Union — which prevents the UK from striking any agreements on its own, to help its own producers.
This, in turn, has been criticised because United States food production standards are different to those in the European Union. Responding to the concerns, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said Friday: “We have been clear we will not lower food standards as part of future trade deals.”
A UK-U.S. deal also promises good news for small and medium-sized companies on both sides of the Atlantic as the lucrative U.S. market opens up to British businesses. The document said U.S. negotiators would work to “help small businesses navigate requirements for exporting to each other’s market… [and] for SMEs to benefit from new commercial opportunities.”
Prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has welcomed the development. He told Sky News Friday: “It is a positive first step, freer trade with the US would be good for UK consumers as it would open markets to greater competition.
“It is encouraging that the US wants to move quickly and has made the first move before we have left.”
"Working on major Trade Deal with the United Kingdom," announces President Trump. "Very big & exciting. JOBS!" https://t.co/q5xTGOIivC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 25, 2017
Britain’s Financial Times newspaper, a loyally pro-European Union title, expressed concerns about the last item in the wishlist, which said negotiators would work to “Ensure that the UK avoids manipulating exchange rates in order to prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage.”
Similar requirements have been inserted into U.S. negotiations with China and Japan, the paper reports.
The Financial Times highlighting this position comes despite the newspaper having been a longtime campaigner to subject the United Kingdom to massive currency controls, advocating the nation ditch its sovereign currency, the Pound Sterling, and to join the European Union’s Euro single currency instead.
A study to mark the 20th birthday of the Euro currency this year has shown how Germany, apparently for whose benefit the currency is run by the European Union, has gained enormously from it, adding €1.9 trillion to its own economy since 1999.
France, on the other hand, has suffered from being locked in an overvalued currency to the tune of a €3.6 trillion loss in the same period, with southern economies such as Italy and Greece having suffered even worse.
— James Barr (@James_Barr) February 26, 2019