Trade

Very difficult for UK and US to strike post-Brexit deal, says ex-UK trade minister

LONDON — It will be “very difficult”for Downing Street to strike a trade deal with Donald Trump after Brexit, a former U.K. trade minister has warned.

Francis Maude, who served as both a Cabinet Office minister and then trade minister under David Cameron, said the U.S. has “tended to be a difficult counterpart” in trade negotiations and said Prime Minister Boris Johnson should not expect a “massive dividend” from the controversial president.

He made the comments after the U.S. president told Johnson he wants to agree a trade deal with the U.K. within a year of the October 31 Brexit date.

In an interview with POLITICO, Maude, who served as an MP almost continuously from 1983 to 2015 before being made Lord Maude of Horsham, said people get “over-excited” about the prospect of trade deals around the world.

“You have to not expect that any one of them is going to be immediately transformative,” he explained.

“The one people go on about is the U.S. That is very difficult to do because the U.S. has tended to be a difficult counterpart in trade negotiations. Congress has always tended to be rather more protectionist than most presidents.”

Maude noted that Congress was a tough negotiator on public procurement during talks on the doomed TTIP deal, and also said the U.K. already has a favourable trade balance with the U.S.

Following talks with Trump at the G7 summit in Biarritz this week, Johnson said: “They want to do [a trade deal] within a year, Id love to do it within a year, but thats a very fast timetable.”

The prime minister warned such an ambitious timetable “is going to be tight,” adding: “I dont think people realize quite how protectionist sometimes the U.S. market can be.”

Asked what advice he would give to Johnson when dealing with Trump, Maude said: “Dont expect this to yield a massive dividend.”

Maude had some words of support for the current government. He said concerns about a no-deal Brexit have been “very exaggeraRead More – Source

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