Farage Plans Independent Trade Delegation to U.S.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage arrives at a Brexit Party event on May 27, 2019 in London, England. The Brexit party won 10 of the UK's 11 regions, gaining 28 seats and more than 30% of the vote. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Peter Summers/Getty

Nigel Farage has said that he plans to lead an independent trade delegation to the U.S. to negotiate a post-Brexit free trade deal between the U.S. and UK.

Mr Farage, speaking to Fox Business, said: “The UK Government are simply not prepared for trade talks with America, so I am putting together a team of industrialists and dealmakers that are. We will then visit Washington on a trade mission and get this thing moving.”

“I’ve now got people elected to the European Parliament under the Brexit Party colours who’ve been businessmen, who’ve been deal makers, who’ve been entrepreneurs so my intention is to put together a team to help with the negotiations,” he said.

He added his concern that the U.S. is far ahead of Britain in terms of preparation for a trade deal between the two countries, saying: “America has done a lot of homework to get this thing ready. A trade deal that is vital for us but should be very good for American interests too.”

“And when I’m asked the question ‘how ready are the British for this?’, [I respond], ‘we’re not’,” he said.

Mr Farage’s comments echo those he made earlier in June in which he announced his initial intention to set up such a delegation. He said at the time: “I intend to request a visit to go and see [U.S. trade representative] Bob Lighthizer and to have a conversation,” adding that “if we have to independently, as the Brexit Party, set up a blueprint for what needs to be done, we will.”

The U.S. under President Trump’s administration seems particularly keen on the possibility of negotiating such a trade deal, with a document from Mr Lighthizer’s trade department saying: “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 totalling 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…”

Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton recently said that Britain would be first in line for a trade deal after leaving the EU, stating: “It really is quite important for the President for the people of Britain to know that this is the top of the priority. This is not the Obama administration where Britain would go ‘to the back of the queue’ — which, of course, is not an American phrase. Britain will be at the top of the queue for us.”

Mr Farage and President Trump are known to be close friends and allies, with Mr Farage even speaking at an event for the President’s 2016 election campaign. The pair also met in London last week during President Trump’s state visit, one of the few UK politicians to secure a private audience with the President.

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