The United States and the United Kingdom will meet again on Tuesday to discuss trade. Since the British left the EU, a new agreement with the Americans has to be drawn up and that has not been smooth before.
Negotiations on the deal have been going on for a long time. So long even that British Prime Minister Johnson wanted to make separate deals with the different states of the US at the end of last year. It is not only with the US that a new trade agreement must be drawn up. ‘Deals must also be made with the EU and the rest of the world,’ says Steven Brakman, professor of International Economics at the University of Groningen. “The US is the main prize, next to the EU. What is special here is that the Irish issue is coming back into play through those negotiations. A large part of the American population has Irish roots, which plays a role. Also, US president Biden is not charmed by a bilateral treaty, which has delayed it.’
The negotiating position of the British does not seem to be good, but the US also has something to gain from a deal.
“The UK is also a major market for the US. Five percent of the US trade goes to the British, so for them too there is an economic interest.”Yet Brakman sees that there is a different awareness.
“More than ever, we have felt that there are disadvantages to trade. In the middle of the US, they suffer from competition for the automotive industry. That voice is heard louder.’Brakman thinks that is one of the reasons why the talks are so lopsided. “This has become increasingly important, and you can also see this happening in Europe. The large middle class suffers from, among other things, technological progress, as a result of which jobs are taken over by computers. But also by moving parts of companies to low-wage countries. That element plays a major role in the discussion.’
The trade unions in particular are the propagators of this way of thinking. In addition, Brakman sees that the US midterm elections play a role.
“Biden is also afraid of the large group protesting, who also voted for Trump. Biden wants to keep a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, which clearly plays a role in this discussion, ” Brakman said.