President-elect Biden’s victory grants a positive change for the majority of American’s who voted him into office. And with millions celebrating, it is difficult to imagine those left wondering, ‘what’s next?’ But among those wondering, are those in the UK. Amidst a pandemic-struck economy, PM Boris Johnson pushed the UK to rely heavily on a US-UK trade deal during post-Brexit relations.
The deal, cemented under the Trump administration, now hangs in limbo as Biden moves into office.
Director of Global Justice Now and author of Trade Secrets Nick Dearden, told Eat News: “It’s a big deal here in Britain because Boris Johnson has tied himself so closely to Donald Trump
“He wants a trade deal with the US both to prove ‘Brexit works’ and to draw the British economy closer to the US economy.”
Johnson’s ties to Trump now act as an anchor against successful trade relations between the US and the UK under the new Biden administration.
The US-UK trade deal was sold to the British public as idyllic, as Britain edges closer to a no-deal Brexit scenario.
“While Trump wants a deal with [Britain] because it will weaken, he believes, EU standards.”
“Biden isn’t as keen and wants to mend fences with Brussels. So, for Johnson, it throws a real spanner in his programme.”
Although Biden’s win has shifted the reality of the trade deal, it may have prevented Trump from encouraging corporate control over the UK. Dearden argued that Johnson and Trump’s trade deal would have allowed big businesses to dismantle and privatise key services like the NHS. However, it is not guaranteed that the Biden administration will not push for an equally “damaging trade deal.”
Biden stated in September that he refused to support a trade deal that sacrificed the Good Friday Agreement. The Good Friday Agreement soothed a 40-year period of political conflict in Northern Ireland in 1998. However, Johnson has persistently pushed for abandoning the agreement to promote an Irish border that would simplify his post-Brexit trade negotiations. This clash in US-UK relations only increases Britain’s chances of leaving the EU with poor trade prospects. The lack of security in the US-UK trade deal has meant that relations between Johnson and Biden may be rushed to revise a trade deal that softens the blow of a no-deal Brexit.
With high food standards and services like the NHS at risk, critics like Dearden were worried that the Trump administration’s attitudes towards the climate crisis, civil rights and healthcare rights would permeate the UK’s trade deal.
“Getting rid of a president who denies climate change is a problem, who is undermining international cooperation on healthcare in the middle of a pandemic, and who gives succour to racism and authoritarianism across the globe is a good thing for anyone who cares about the future of our planet,” Dearden said.
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