US-UK trade deal in first year of Joe Biden presidency ‘a stretch’ despite Boris’s push

UK-US trade deal ‘a stretch’ in Biden’s first year says Darroch

The former US ambassador has stated there is little prospect of a trade agreement in Joe Biden’s first term as US President, labelling the outcome a “stretch.” He argued that Mr Biden’s administration is more likely to favour strengthening trade ties with the European Union. According to Lord Darroch, the President-elect could yet seek to sign America up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a way of countering the economic rise of China in the region, something which would take priority over a deal with the UK.

Lord Darroch told Radio 4’s Westminster Hour on Sunday that a US-UK trade was not a priority for Mr Biden for “at least the first part of his presidency.”

He said: “Biden has said in the last few weeks that doing trade deals is not a priority for him for at least the first part of his presidency and my guess is that certainly covers the next 12 months, it may cover the next 24 months.

“When he comes to do one, there are two much bigger trade deals that he could potentially do, rather than a deal with a medium-sized country of 65 million people.

“One is he could resume the talks that never finished in Obama’s time on an EU-US free trade deal and the other is that he could take America into the trans-Pacific partnership, which is potentially a huge advantage for America and would start to counter Chinese influence in that region.

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“So honestly I have my doubts about whether a UK deal will be a priority. I think it’s a stretch to imagine it actually happening in a Biden first term, but we might strike it lucky, we’ll see.”

The comments come as many wonder whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to pull off a substantial post-Brexit trade deal with Washington has was done, after nine months of fraught negotiations, with the EU.

As Mr Biden outlined his vision for his first few days in the White House last month, the former Vice President confirmed he is not prioritising a trade deal with the UK.

Instead, the incoming Democrat President said he will adopt a similar “America First” policy to US President Donald Trump, fighting “like hell” to invest in US firms and employees.


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Despite Mr Biden’s claims, a British Government adviser has told that Mr Johnson is likely to bag another trade victory, as there has been a lot of talk in Washington about extending the Trade Promotion Authority just for the UK-US trade deal.

Shanker Singham, the CEO of economic consultancy Competere, said: “Any new US President has to focus on domestic policy for the first few months.

“He cannot seem to be leading with foreign policy and I expect Biden to be no different.

“He will be trying to offset the balance of the Trump administration, the anti-Europe approach.


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“But at the end of the day, what does it mean for trade policy?”

Mr Singham noted: “A deal with the UK is the only deal a Democrat President like Biden can actually do, because there is no race to the bottom on labour and environment, there is no offshoring of US jobs.

“A UK deal that a Biden administration puts together is more likely to pass the US process and there has been a lot of talk about extending Trade Promotion Authority just for the UK deal.”

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss reportedly wants to build on current negotiations with the Trump administration and potentially add things like enhanced protections on air pollution and corporate transparency on climate change to coax Mr Biden’s team to the negotiating table.

Talks are said to be in “advanced stages”, with more than 50 percent of the deal believed to be completed.

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