PM Johnson Woos U.S. Investment with Post-Brexit Lower Taxes, Regulation Cuts

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he departs from Hudson Yards, in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. In a major blow to Johnson, Britain's highest court ruled Tuesday that his decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the crucial countdown to the country's Brexit deadline was illegal. …
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that he will “roll out the red carpet” to American businesses, hinting at major reforms post-Brexit to taxation and regulations which would expand Britain’s global reach to investors and increase trade.

Addressing American and Canadian business leaders at a breakfast reception in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Prime Minister Johnson said he wants to deepen North American-British trade.

“We want to do so much more, because our country is going up a gear,” the prime minister said. “On October 31st, we intend to be more global, more outward looking, more committed to the rest of the world than ever before.

“We’re going to take advantage of all the freedoms that Brexit can give whether it’s new tax allowances for businesses or speedier public procurement contracts or creating new free ports, enterprise zones, devising better regulations for sectors the UK leads the world [… and] more competitive tax rates.”

The United States is the United Kingdom’s second-largest trading partner, and European leaders are frightened the effect that a closer Anglo-American alliance would have on the bloc: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that she feared the UK becoming an “economic competitor” on Europe’s doorstep; European Council President-elect Charles Michel expressed concern how the EU would keep close ties with the UK if it is “now looking more and more toward the United States”; while Guy ‘Europe-Must-Become-an-Empire’ Verhofstadt said the EU will not accept the UK becoming a low-tax, low-regulation “Singapore on the North Sea”.

Mr Johnson continued: “We will roll out the red carpet for our American friends. We are increasing the number of visas for scientists. We’re ensuring that your brilliant students can stay on for two years so as to get real value from their studies and so that our economy in the UK benefits from their expertise.”

“We want to do the much-vaunted free trade deal,” the prime minister added, and lamented how current trade rules — in the EU and the U.S. — are preventing more trade, saying “it is absolutely absurd that there should be tariffs in the UK on Californian wine or British shoppers should pay over the odds for Florida orange juice. But it is also absurd that the population of America has gone for decades with not eating a morsel of British lamb, or beef — let alone haggis.”

“The US military are banned from buying British tape measures as if there were some kind of general prejudice still against British rulers of all kinds,” he joked, the prime minister managing to remain relaxed and in good humour despite the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that his suspension of parliament was unlawful.

The Sun reported this week that the U.S. and UK could agree a bilateral trade deal that is wrapped up by as soon as July 2020. A senior government source told the tabloid: “The political will is there now on both sides to do the deal by July. It’s a great win for us, and Trump is also really keen to shout about it in the States.”

President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson are set to discuss trade on the fringes of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

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