The pressure on Boris Johnson to reach a trade agreement with the European Union is growing rapidly. A few days ago, the British House of Lords voted down a bill that Johnson wanted to regulate trade with Northern Ireland after the Brexit, if necessary unilaterally. That is contrary to international law.
Johnson is back to square one after the defeat in the House of Lords. He had previously passed his Brexit law through the House of Commons on the basis of the argument that the importance of the British economy is more important. Johnson is undoubtedly going to make another attempt to get the law passed. But in the meantime, pressure on him is also increasing from other angles.
Johnson, for example, has a lot to lose because of Joe Biden’s election profits in the United States. Sitting president Donald Trump was eager to conclude a trade agreement with him as soon as the country left the EU without good agreements.
Trump’s successor is a lot less keen on that. Biden has already shown himself to be an outspoken opponent of the Brexit.
There is a good chance that, when he takes office, he will put more energy into strengthening ties with the European Union than in negotiations with the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom also has to conclude a trade agreement with Canada. Last Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a remarkable statement for the failure to reach an agreement. British negotiators would simply have insufficient experience of concluding trade agreements. The country has not had to conclude an agreement as part of the EU for decades.
Now the UK has to reach agreement within a few months with former European partners, but also with a whole host of other countries such as the United States, Canada, China and much more.
There is very little time left to make good agreements. Any agreement with the EU must also be regulated. Finally, there must also be official approval of the British parliament and of all the European heads of government.
If there is no basic agreement for next week’s EU summit on 19 November, we can brace ourselves for a no deal-Brexit. The good news is that the British trade delegation does not seem insensitive to the growing pressure.
Several news sites reported that a provisional agreement might be reached by mid-next week. That explains why, despite the growing time pressure, the British pound was able to gain some ground last week.