The Trump administration, with its ‘America First’ policy, will not hesitate to take advantage of the UK in trade talks if it finds itself weakened by Brexit, says John Wilkes, consultant and FG’s Washington correspondent.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kept a post-Brexit US-UK trade deal in the spotlight during a recent visit to the Irish border.
She deemed it highly unlikely any agreement will be possible if the Good Friday agreement is compromised in any way.
The BBC reported her meeting with the Brexit-centric European Research Group MPs as ‘stormy’.
After Pelosi’s visit, the murder of a young journalist during rioting in Derry may prove to strengthen US resolve about the Irish border.
There had been a degree of calm in Washington DC following tension when the April Brexit extension was announced.
The extra time offered by the EU further impeded US hopes for a clean break from Brussels for the UK.
Continued alignment with EU rules may have serious ramifications for any UK-US trade agreement, particularly for agriculture because of issues concerning food standards and animal welfare.
This is a vital inclusion for any proposed agreement.
The extension prompted Donald Trump Jr. and US National Security Advisor John Bolton to berate Prime Minister May and question her leadership ability.
In a Daily Telegraph op-ed, Trump Jr. reiterated advice apparently offered to May by his father, saying the UK should sue the EU rather than work out a deal.
It appears this was a two-prong coordinated approach devised by The White House.
Much of the US rolling news on Brexit covered daily internal machinations in the House of Commons.
Before focus shifted to the likelihood of a EU extension, Americans had watched Westminster lurch from crisis to crisis.
It seemed US and global connections were bemused by the spectacle, albeit with a degree of sympathy.
There is a belief, though, that a depleted UK may suit the United States Trade Representative when time comes for serious negotiations between the two countries.
Undoubtedly it will not be to the UK’s advantage, with the present administration’s penchant for unconventional and unexpected trade tactics.
The present administration touts ‘America First’ and ‘MAGA’. These principles are fundamental to its international trade policy.
It may prove ill-advised for the UK to rely too heavily on its supposed ‘special relationship’, despite the announcement of a June UK state visit by President Trump.
Words of caution in a recent interview with The Guardian were expressed by Gérard Araud, retiring French Ambassador to the US: “When a UK-US free trade agreement is negotiated, there will be blood on the walls, and it will be British blood.”
John can be found tweeting at @JohnsinUSA