The UK is heading out of the single market so to speak, unless it can have all the benefits of the club without the free movement part. Along comes Donald Trump, and the prospect of a UK-US trade deal suddenly becomes believable.
It just so happens that Trump is a huge fan of the UK and Brexit, apparently his Scottish Mother and love for Margaret Thatcher makes the UK ‘special’ (Scotland voted to remain). and a promise of a new trade deal within 90 days is a ‘real possibility’ according to the ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Doesn’t this all sound wonderful? The UK and US becoming global leaders of trade under an un-elected British Prime Minister and Donald Trump, perhaps the most controversial President in history. What could possibly go wrong?
Let’s recap a little bit, Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ leaves little room for a fair UK-US trade deal in 90 days. Even if a trade deal within 90 days was possible, it would need months of ratification before anything concrete could be signed. I have no doubt that the President will offer the UK a deal, but it will be on his terms.
America first, and what an opportunity Trump has to take advantage of a vulnerable nation that faces a cliff-edge Brexit in which trading under WTO is a huge possibility. Even if, by pure good will the President offers the UK something concrete, it will never be as strong as access to the European markets.
The US have different food safety standards, under EU regulations eating bleached chicken would be an absolute no no, a practice that is common in the US. There is one other major problem with relying on a fresh US trade deal… the distance.
Getting goods to and from the UK will be expensive, transport costs, oil costs, and labour costs, but this isn’t the problem I had in mind.
The UK cannot agree new trade deals until it leaves the EU, which will officially take place some time in 2019, possibly later. Any conversations between Trump and May must be informal and likely to be detriment to future UK-EU relations.
What are these common values that the UK and US share under a Trump Presidency? And how can Theresa May stand by a President that has openly expressed demeaning views of women?
May has little choice but to take shelter under Trump’s wing, or face losing one of the few opportunities she has.