Key Com­mon­wealth body opens US base

The Sunday Telegraph - - Brexit Special - By Ben Ri­ley-Smith Christo­pher Hope

and BRI­TAIN’S hopes of deep­en­ing links with Amer­ica fol­low­ing Brexit have re­ceived a boost af­ter a ma­jor Com­mon­wealth body an­nounced it was open­ing a US branch.

The Royal Com­mon­wealth So­ci­ety, which was founded in 1868 and counts the Queen as its pa­tron, is es­tab­lish­ing a pres­ence in the Amer­i­can state of Mis­sis­sippi. The move is an at­tempt to build on sim­i­lar­i­ties in lan­guage, cul­ture and trade that ex­ist be­tween the Com­mon­wealth coun­tries and Amer­ica.

It has added sig­nif­i­cance given both Theresa May, the Prime Min­is­ter, and Don­ald Trump, the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent, have sig­nalled their de­sire for a UK-US trade deal af­ter Brexit. In­deed one of Mr Trump’s close al­lies, Phil Bryant, the gover­nor of Mis- sis­sippi, has agreed to serve as the branch’s chair­man of the board of gov­er­nance.

Of­fi­cials from both Bri­tain and the US have al­ready held scop­ing talks for the trade deal, which can only be signed once the UK for­mally leaves the EU in March 2019.

Euroscep­tics played up the chance of Bri­tain re­con­nect­ing with Com­mon­wealth coun­tries out­side of the EU at last year’s ref­er­en­dum.

Since the vote to leave, a flurry of work­ing groups with coun­tries in­clud­ing In­dia, Aus­tralia and New Zealand have been es­tab­lished in the hope of a post-Brexit trade boost.

Ex­plain­ing the de­ci­sion to cre­ate a US branch, a spokesman for the Royal Com­mon­wealth So­ci­ety played up the coun­tries’ shared val­ues. “The fra­ter­nal links be­tween the UK and the USA are strong,” the spokesman said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.