Boris Johnson has admitted Britain will not get a quick trade deal with the US, in a shameful confession as he prepares for his first White House meeting with President Joe Biden.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s encounter, the prime minister clarified that he recognized a free trade agreement (FTA) with Britain was not a priority for Mr Biden, who said he had “a lot of fish to fry”. She was
A swift transatlantic FTA was repeatedly trumpeted by Leave campaigners, including Mr Johnson, as the biggest prize of Brexit, and the prime minister made clear upon his arrival in Downing Street in 2019 that he was looking for a quick move on tariff-free commerce. Was hopeful with the deal. Then-President Donald Trump.
The Department for International Trade estimated the benefits of a deal to be up to £7.7bn, or 0.36 per cent of GDP – far less than the estimated losses from the EU withdrawal.
But the prospect of a deal with Mr Trump has sparked UK concerns about chlorinated chicken, hormone-pumped beef and safety for the NHS, and with Mr Biden in office further raising the prospect of a future agreement .
Speaking on Monday, Mr Johnson suggested the issue would not feature prominently in his first one-on-one talks with the president since June’s G7 summit in Cornwall.
Instead, he hopes a major announcement from the president on the new US contribution to the $100bn climate finance package for November’s global warming summit in Glasgow will allow him to claim the meeting as a success. Mr Johnson was blindsided by the US announcement on Monday of easing its Covid rules, which would allow vaccinated Britons to fly to the US.
“On the FTA, the reality is that Joe has a lot of fish to fry,” the PM said. “They’ve got a big infrastructure package, they’ve got a ‘build better’ package.
“We want to do it, but what we want is a good FTA, a great FTA. And I have a lot of experience in American negotiations, and those American negotiators are very ruthless. And I’d love to get a deal that works.” Really works to get a quick deal for the UK.”
Mr Johnson’s comments are an outrageous reminder of former President Barack Obama’s 2016 warning that a vote for Brexit in that year’s referendum would put the UK “in the back of the queue” in demanding a deal with Washington – something like For which he was ridiculed by the holiday preacher at the time.
Last September, ahead of Mr Biden’s election, then-International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said he hoped to reach a deal with the US by July 1 this year – for the US president to fast-track trade agreements through Congress. deadline to do.
But Ms Truss, in her new role as foreign secretary with Mr Johnson in the US, has indicated she does not believe there will be an agreement before next year’s midterm elections.
Despite his FTA disappointment, Mr Johnson insisted Mr Biden’s arrival had allowed the UK to make progress on long-standing trade differences from the Trump era and before.
“When we last went out a few years ago, we had all kinds of pebbles in our shoes,” he said.
“But I can tell you today that we’ve lifted the British beef ban. Britain’s beef is being exported to America. We’ve removed the duty on whiskey from the United States. We’ve settled the Boeing/Airbus dispute that led to Our relations have eroded for many years, and we have even launched a landmark agreement with our Australian friends that will enable the UK and US to develop further defense technology partnerships, for decades to come.
“This prospect brings with it the opportunity for high-paying, high-skilled jobs in the UK for decades to come.”