US trade deal this sum­mer

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - By David Mad­dox PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR

HOPES are high in the US that a block­buster in­terim trade deal can be agreed with the UK by the sum­mer, ahead of the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Sources in­volved in the cam­paign to re-elect Don­ald Trump have told the Sun­day Ex­press they ex­pect Boris John­son to visit the US early in Fe­bru­ary – days af­ter Brexit on Jan­uary 31 – as “a sign of the re­newed re­la­tion­ship”.

Last night it was re­ported he could be given the hon­our of ad­dress­ing both Houses of Congress, only the sixth Bri­tish prime min­is­ter to do so.

The Pres­i­dent’s team are keen for the PM to ar­rive ahead of Mr Trump’s State of the Union ad­dress on Fe­bru­ary 4. A cam­paign com­mit­tee source said: “It would be great if we can have Boris there as a guest of hon­our. It will be a real sig­nal of what is to come this year.

“Boris and the Pres­i­dent have a re­ally good re­la­tion­ship so as soon as Brexit has hap­pened the talks for a trade deal be­tween the two coun­tries can get go­ing. There is no rea­son why an in­terim deal can’t be done for the sum­mer, with some eye-catch­ing agree­ments which will help both the Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter.”

Mr Trump has been a strong in­ter­na­tional sup­porter of Brexit and partly put his own vic­tory down to the Brexit ef­fect, with his 2016 elec­tion win com­ing just months af­ter Bri­tain voted to Leave the EU.

He has reg­u­larly promised a “great” trade deal and last month, US am­bas­sador Robert “Woody” John­son said Mr John­son’s re­cent elec­tion vic­tory had given Bri­tain “an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity”, paving the way for a huge boost in trade be­tween the two na­tions. Repub­li­cans in Wash­ing­ton have been press­ing for sup­port for a UK trade deal, believ­ing that by link­ing the City of

Lon­don with the fi­nan­cial mar­kets in New York, the UK and US can dom­i­nate world fi­nan­cial ser­vices. Mean­while, there have been re­ports that Mr John­son’s cabi­net is split over whether to fo­cus on the EU ne­go­ti­a­tions or push for par­al­lel talks with the US. But se­nior Tory MPS and Brex­i­teers have made it clear that Mr John­son must start talks with the US at the same time as the EU. Writ­ing in to­day’s Sun­day Ex­press, for­mer cabi­net min­is­ter Owen Pater­son, who met Mr Trump last year, said that the PM “must act now” on a US trade deal. He writes: “It will be enor­mously ben­e­fi­cial for both coun­tries.”

An­other lead­ing Brex­i­teer and for­mer cabi­net min­is­ter, David Jones, said: “It’s very im­por­tant that the first act is to go and see Pres­i­dent Trump. It will be im­por­tant sym­bol­i­cally.

“We must work in par­al­lel on a trade deal with the

Amer­i­cans but also look to other op­por­tu­ni­ties such as Aus­tralia and New Zealand.”

The need to en­sure the Gov­ern­ment fo­cuses on US trade talks and does not al­low the EU to dic­tate the next nine months of talks is seen as the pri­mary rea­son to keep the Euro­pean Research Group of pro-brexit Tory MPS run­ning.

There have been claims pres­sure has been put on the ERG to dis­band af­ter Jan­uary 31, but MPS have told the Sun­day Ex­press that there will still be a role for it. Its AGM takes place on Jan­uary 28 when its fu­ture will be dis­cussed. One se­nior ERG mem­ber, North West Le­ices­ter­shire MP An­drew

Brid­gen, said: “We are all very happy with what the Prime Min­is­ter has done so far.

“But we have to en­sure that the Gov­ern­ment does not make any silly com­pro­mises.

“Also, we have to push the case for the US trade deal. The Prime Min­is­ter has to get out there as soon as pos­si­ble.”

While an in­terim deal by the sum­mer would help Mr Trump’s elec­tion chances in Novem­ber, it would also be a boost to the UK by giv­ing an early in­di­ca­tion of the ben­e­fits of Brexit. It would also mean that there would be greater pres­sure on the EU to com­pro­mise, to con­tinue to have free ac­cess to the world’s fifth big­gest econ­omy. Splits have al­ready emerged in the EU over its tac­tics, with the Hun­gar­ian gov­ern­ment lead­ing the way in de­mand­ing a more flex­i­ble ap­proach and “no re­peat of the mis­takes of the last Euro­pean com­mis­sion” in its han­dling of Brexit.

Ire­land has also come out against the com­mis­sion claim that a deal can­not be done by the end of 2020.

Mr John­son has made it clear that he will not ex­tend the tran­si­tion pe­riod be­yond this year so the UK will leave the EU with no deal if the EU fails to com­pro­mise.

BORIS JOHN­SON is prov­ing to be a man on a mis­sion. Hav­ing man­aged to smash down Labour’s red wall for that his­toric gen­eral elec­tion vic­tory last month, he is busy tak­ing the prover­bial sledge­ham­mer to all the other block­ages in our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.

With Labour and the Re­main­ers now out of the way, Brexit re­ally can be done and will be done by Jan­uary 31.

But what is clearer now more than ever be­fore is that post-brexit Bri­tain is go­ing to be a great place to live.

The sound­ings com­ing from across the At­lantic from our friends in the US show that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion does not just want us to get Brexit done, it wants Bri­tain and the US to get the trade deal done as soon as pos­si­ble. And they are right.

As Owen Pater­son to­day in­di­cates in this news­pa­per, that trade deal should not just be an ad­junct or an af­ter­thought to the EU talks, it should in many ways be the Gov­ern­ment’s main fo­cus.

Yes, we want good re­la­tions with Europe but link­ing the UK and US economies – the world’s two big­gest fi­nan­cial cen­tres – is the real prize.

And it is com­mon sense to re­alise that a US deal will put pres­sure on the EU to com­pro­mise.

It is in both Don­ald Trump’s elec­toral and Bri­tain’s eco­nomic in­ter­ests to have an in­terim deal by the sum­mer.

The dan­ger is that the Democrats have taken a pro-eu stance and would put Bri­tain

“at the back of the queue”, as Barack Obama once phrased it, should their can­di­date win in Novem­ber.

So there can be no de­lay.the Prime Min­is­ter needs to be over in­wash­ing­ton the week af­ter Brexit and show the world that Bri­tain truly does mean busi­ness.

PO­LIT­I­CAL AL­LIES: Don­ald Trump and Boris John­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.