The New York media said on September 23 citing government sources that the US and UK have agreed to strike a bilateral trade deal by July 2020. The news comes after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting. The two leaders are expected to hold negotiations on the trade deal on the sidelines of the event. But as the US election cycle starts by 2020, the two nations have the political will to complete the deal by then.
Reports said that Boris was initially sceptical about Trump’s aim to have a deal tied up in just nine months time. Yet he was later made to agree to the deal with regard to the upcoming elections. Politicians in America will be distracted by the campaign for the White House as well as Congress by the Autumn, and a new president may not share Trump’s enthusiasm for a deal.
Another important point is that the deal could be signed next summer, yet its implementation will have to wait until Brexit’s transition period finishes in December 2020. Johnson and Trump had reportedly planned on the deal’s negotiation on Tuesday, but that has now been delayed until when Trump is next in London in December for the NATO summit. The deal will be the biggest free trade agreement that the US has ever made with another country. US Vice President Mike Pence had said that Trump was willing to begin negotiating a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom as soon as London was ready, earlier in September.
The deal will come as a major boost to Britain’s Brexit hopes. The US wishes to see a major reduction in the UK’s tariffs on steel imports, as well as a reduction or end to the digital tax on tech giants. London, on the other hand, wants access to the giant American market for financial services. On Monday, Boris Johnson told media that he would tell US President Donald Trump that the UK's state-funded health service would be off the table in any future trade negotiations.
The US will have to open its markets to British goods if it wants to make a deal, he added. Johnson said he would draw his red lines for the protectionist president when the two leaders meet this week at UNGA. Both of the countries' officials have been holding talks for months. In his two-day visit to America, Johnson will hold key Brexit talks with Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and EU Council President Donald Tusk.
(With inputs from ANI)