Opinion

Any US-UK trade deal will come at a price

Any US-UK trade deal will come at a price

Britain’s prospects of securing a trade deal with the US post-Brexit were one of the main items up for discussion (along with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) during Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with President Donald Trump last month.

As ‘The Donald’ began to fulfil his pre-election promise of dismantling key policies introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama, and making his own impact felt, a bilateral trade agreement with the UK was one near the top of the list.

Last year, Obama had very publicly announced that the UK would go to the back of the queue of countries that the US would strike deals with were it to leave the EU.

Break away from the status quo

But Trump had used Brexit as a key part of his campaign strategy to convince the US electorate to break away from the status quo.

So, making a meeting with May one of his first with a foreign leader in his new role – and putting the UK at the top of the trade negotiation league – were almost inevitable.

However, commentators have already started to point out that the value of trade between the UK and US is considerably less than that between the UK and Europe.

Value of trade

And, even if a deal is struck between our two nations, what price are US negotiators going to want to extract from the UK in exchange?

For example, with plans to dismantle ‘Obamacare’ in the US, what sort of access would Trump expect for US companies to the UK’s National Health Service?

On the agricultural front, it might lead to the UK market being opened up to meat protein fed with antibiotic growth promoters (something that is currently banned under EU rules).

However, on a more positive note – to me at least – it might lead to the UK accepting genetically modified foods sooner.

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