‘We Will Get This Done’: U.S. Ambassador Hints at Last Minute Trump Trade Deal With UK

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND - JUNE 05: Queen Elizabeth II and US President, Donald Trump attend the D-day 75 Commemorations on June 05, 2019 in Portsmouth, England. The political heads of 16 countries involved in World War II joined Her Majesty, The Queen is on the UK south coast for a service …
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America’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Woody Johnson, has suggested that U.S. and British negotiators are close to securing a trade deal before the end of President Trump’s term in office.

On Sunday evening, Mr Johnson wrote on social media: “Free trade between our countries will lift us all to prosperity! Our trade negotiations are making great progress. We will get this done.”

President Trump, whose mother was Scottish and British, has been a fervent supporter of the Brexit movement since 2016, and indeed has promised a “massive new trade deal after Brexit”.

Hopes of securing a trade deal between the two nations diminished with the continual delays to Brexit as well as trade talks faltering during the Chinese coronavirus crisis.

In July, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that it would be “almost impossible” for the British to secure a finalised trade deal with President Donald Trump before the U.S. election.

However, following the signing of the Brexit deal last week, the American ambassador struck an optimistic note, writing: “Congratulations to the UK & EU on striking a Brexit deal. So many new [British-American] opportunities to pursue!”

Last week, Robert Lighthizer told the BBC that the administration hopes to secure a mini trade deal before the swearing-in of President-Elect Joe Biden, who is widely considered to be anti-British or at least anti-Brexit, having been a longstanding opponent to the pro-sovereignty Brexit movement.

“I’m talking to [International Trade Secretary] Liz Truss, about trying to work out some kind of a deal… I’m hopeful we can get some kind of an agreement out you know, we don’t have a lot of time left,” Lighthizer said.

“We have the advantage in that both the U.S. and the UK — particularly the current government of the UK — are not big subsidisers, where some other countries are more inclined to subsidise. So it would be helpful if we could come to some kind of agreement,” he added.

While a fully-fledged free trade agreement between the two nations would require congressional approval, the President does have wide-ranging tariff powers, meaning that President Trump may be able to agree to a deal in which both countries lower their tariffs.

The move would force a Biden administration to raise tariffs on the British if they wished to reverse the deal, which may be difficult to sell politically.

Both Biden and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi have threatened to block a trade deal with the United Kingdom if the country’s departure from the European Union endangered the so-called Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal with the EU seems to have allayed any such concerns, it remains to be seen if it will sway the opinion of the globalist-minded American politicians.

Mr Biden has long expressed anti-Brexit sentiments, saying in 2018: “Had I been a Member of Parliament, had I been a British citizen, I would have voted against leaving.”

“From the U.S. perspective, U.S. interests are diminished with Great Britain not being an integral part of Europe and being able to bring influence,” he claimed.

More worryingly for the prospects of a trade deal under a Biden administration, a chief advisor to the Biden campaign and former U.S. ambassador to the EU, Anthony Gardner, said ahead of the election that if elected Biden would announce a “declaration of support for the European Union”.

“If Biden is elected, I believe quickly, perhaps first day, [there will be a] declaration of support for the European Union, declaration of support for European integration, declaration of support in favour of NATO, the lynchpin of the trans-Atlantic alliance, which has been weakened because of this administration’s policies,” Gardner said.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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