Since the Brexit happened in January 2020, the UK has been looking forward to making trade deals with many big economies including the US and European Union (EU) as a part of a major restructuring of Britain’s economy. On Monday, March 2, 2020, the British Prime Minister (PM), Boris Johnson declared that he would act tough on trade bargain with Washington in upcoming bilateral meetings between the two countries.
Britain-US Trade Relationship
Britain has set a long-list line up of trade negotiations with the US, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand in the coming months with a special focus with the EU on trade relationship of the future.
The UK’s exit from the EU has forced the country to undergo a major economic reformation of its foreign and trade policy since World War II and is looking at the world’s largest economy to consolidate its bilateral economic relationship in the post-Brexit era. Nevertheless, the UK government under the leadership of PM, Johnson has announced to proceed trade deal with the US with a tough approach to boost the economy of the country.
Johnson said, “We have the best negotiators in the business and of course, we’re going to drive a hard bargain to boost British industry.” Meanwhile, he stated, “Most importantly, this transatlantic trade deal will reflect the unique closeness of our two great nations.”
Britain, which has an economy worth around $2.7 trillion, expected that the upcoming trade deals between the two countries would expand transatlantic trade by 15.3 billion pounds ($19.61 billion) and add some 3.4 billion pounds to the British economy.
Currently, the US is the UK’s biggest trading partner which accounts for nearly 19% of all its exports in 2018 and 11% of imports after the EU, as Reuters reported. The EU, with which Britain has been in talks for constructive trade deals, has now owned nearly 45% of all UK exports and 53% of UK imports.
UK’s Aims from Trade Deals
Hoping to make the Britain-UK trade deal finalized by this year, the UK government claimed that the manufacturers of cars, ceramics, food, and drink, and professional services including architects and lawyers would benefit most from the upcoming trade deals with the US. The PM claimed, “Trading Scottish smoked salmon for Stetson hats, we will deliver lower prices and more choice for our shoppers.”
Under the proposed deal, the UK government would be also seeking the removal of non-tariff barriers which put a restriction on chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated meat. Britain’s Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser, Crawford Falconer, who previously worked as New Zealand’s chief negotiator, would represent the country in the trade talks with the US. With this, the government set an aim to settle its 80% of external trade through signing various free trade agreements by 2022.
Meanwhile, a key challenge of the proposed deal was on the issues of healthcare services. Last year, the report of the US negotiating objectives aimed at full access to American pharmaceutical products and medical devices in the UK market.
The UK government had earlier reiterated that its National Health Service (NHS) was “not for sale” citing that such deal would change NHS pricing restrictions and could increase the cost price of drugs due to entry of those private US healthcare providers into Britain’s state-funded health system.
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