Back of the Queue? No UK-U.S. Trade Deal Until at Least 2022, Say Biden Insiders

US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with European Union President Donald Tusk (unseen) on February 6, 2015 at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. Ukraine is battling to survive in the face of escalating Russian involvement and needs the EU and US to stand together, Biden said during …

The United Kingdom is unlikely to secure a trade deal next year with the United States, as a more globalist-minded Joe Biden administration would prioritise ties with the European Union, a former American diplomat said.

While President Donald Trump has prioritised ties with the United Kingdom, Britain’s governing Conservative party has squandered his first term, and a Biden presidency is expected to see the United States seek deeper connections with the European Union.

A former U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom during the Trump and Obama administrations, Lewis Lukens, told POLITICO that a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S. would be unlikely to be agreed to anytime soon, saying: “I’d say the best-case scenario for a deal is 2022.”

Charles Kupchan, a former European affairs advisor to both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, said:  “When you wanted to get something done with Europe, you made the first or perhaps second call to London. In 2021, you’re still going to call London, but that call will be lower down in the queue… Britain doesn’t have a seat at the table anymore.”

“Biden is seeking to strengthen and renew ties with the EU, and Britain is not going to be a part of that,” added a Biden camp insider.

Speaking ahead of the election, Biden campaign advisor and former American ambassador to the EU, Anthony Gardner, predicted that Biden would announce a “declaration of support for the European Union” at the beginning of his term, possibly as early as the “first day”.

Unlike President Trump, Mr Biden has long expressed his opposition to the pro-sovereignty Brexit movement in Britain, saying after the results of the 2016 EU referendum:  “I must say we preferred a different outcome.”

“Had I been a Member of Parliament, had I been a British citizen, I would have voted against leaving,” Biden said in 2018.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage said that Biden would be “an anti-British” president.

Following the November presidential election, Mr Farage chastised the British government for wasting the opportunity of Donald Trump in the White House. President Trump has consistently expressed support for securing a free trade agreement with the British after the country finally left the European Union.

“The Conservatives had 4 years to do a trade with the USA and [a] pro-UK President, and they failed,” Mr Farage said.

(The EU controls its member-states’ international trade policy, which has prevented Britain from achieving free trade with key partners such as Australia and the United States for decades, as such deals were not seen to be in the interest of other EU countries. Britain remained party to EU trade policy throughout the 2020 “transition” period.)

There is a possibility of the two countries coming to a last-minute mini-deal that could see tariffs on British products such as single malt Scotch whisky reduced in the final weeks of the Trump administration, however.

Woody Johnson, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, hinted on Tuesday that such a deal would be possible, writing 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.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka


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