Boris Johnson says Donald Trump wants a post-Brexit US-UK trade deal within a year

Donald Trump has told Boris Johnson that he wants to hammer out a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the United States within a year.

His timetable emerged after the two leaders held their first face-to-face meeting at the G7 summit in the French resort of Biarritz.

The Prime Minister told ITV News: “There’s an opportunity to do a great free trade deal with the United States. The President is very gung-ho about that and so am I.”

But he warned that there would need to be “some movement” from the US in order to clinch a deal by next summer.

“They want to do it within a year, I’d love to do it within a year, but that’s a very fast timetable,” Mr Johnson added.

Trump predicts ‘very big trade deal’

Earlier Mr Trump predicted that Britain and the United States would clinch a “very big trade deal” quickly after Brexit as he held his first face-to-face talks with Boris Johnson.

“We’re going to do a very big trade deal, bigger than we’ve ever had with the UK” Donald Trump

He hailed the Prime Minister as the “right man for the job”- and forecast that the UK would prosper once it had been freed of the “anchor round the ankle” of European Union membership.

The two leaders, who met at the G7 summit in the French resort of Biarritz, announced they were setting up a “special relationship economic working group”.

It will be seen as the opening step in negotiations over a post-Brexit UK-US trade agreement.

Mr Johnson has warned that striking a deal would be far from “plain sailing”, not least because of the array of trade barriers faced by British companies attempting to export to America.

Trump’s upbeat note

But Mr Trump struck an upbeat note as he met the Prime Minister, insisting: “We’re going to do a very big trade deal, bigger than we’ve ever had with the UK.”
He added: “At some point, they won’t have the obstacle of … they won’t have the anchor around their ankle, because that’s what they had. So we’re going to have some very good trade talks and big numbers.”

The President took a swipe at Theresa May as he forecast that a deal could be reached “pretty quickly”.

He said he had been “stymied” previously because “nothing got done on the other side, as you’ve seen from Brexit.” He said: “This is a different person, and this is a person that’s going to be a great prime minister, in my opinion.”

Johnson ‘doesn’t need Brexit advice’

Standing alongside the Prime Minister, he said that Mr Johnson did not require any advice on delivering Brexit.

“He’s the right man for the job.  I’ve been saying that for a long time.  It didn’t make your predecessor very happy.  But I’ve been saying it for a long time: He’s the right man for the job.”

Mr Johnson responded: “I’m very grateful for that.  And we’re looking forward to having some pretty comprehensive talks about how to take forward the relationship in all sorts of ways, particularly on trade.  And we’re very excited about that.”

But he warned there were “tough talks ahead, adding: “I don’t think we sell a single joint of British lamb to the United States.  We don’t sell any beef. We don’t sell any pork pies.

“And there are clearly huge opportunities for the UK to penetrate the American market in the way that we currently don’t. And we’re very interested to talk about that with you.”

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Donald Trump promises Britain a ‘very big trade deal’ as he holds first talks with Boris Johnson

Donald Trump has promised Britain a “very big trade deal” as he and Boris Johnson held their first bilateral talks.

The President met the recently-appointed Prime Minister on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz and hailed him as the “right man for the job” of delivering Brexit.

Mr Trump said he had long held his views on Mr Johnson’s suitability for being Prime Minister, which “didn’t make your predecessor very happy”.

The two leaders were meeting to talk about the possibility of a UK-US trade deal once Britain has left the European Union.

‘Not plain sailing’

The two world leaders share a joke as they sit down for talks. (Getty)

The president said: “We’re going to do a very big trade deal, bigger than we’ve ever had with the UK and now at some point they won’t have the obstacle, they won’t have the anchor around their ankle, because that’s what they have.”

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Boris Johnson complains to Donald Trump over US restrictions on pork pies, peppers and shower trays

However, Mr Johnson has warned that a trade deal with the US will not be “plain sailing” and has raised a series of areas where he wants concessions from Washington.

He told Mr Trump: “Talking of the anchor, Donald, what we want is for our ships to take freight, say, from New York to Boston, which for the moment they’re not able to do.”

The president said he wanted a deal done “quickly” because in the past he had been “stymied” under Theresa May and while the UK was still negotiating Brexit.

He added: “This is a different person and this is a person that’s going to be a great Prime Minister, in my opinion.”

Trade war warnings

Mr Johnson used the talks to warn Mr Trump against escalating his trade war with China. (Getty)

Mr Johnson told him: “I know that there will be some tough talks ahead because at the moment I don’t think we sell a single joint of British lamb in the United States; we don’t sell any beef… and there are huge opportunities for the UK to penetrate the American market in ways we currently don’t.”

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25 senior ambassadors warn Boris Johnson over no-deal Brexit

Asked if he had made clear his views on protecting the NHS and animal welfare standards in trade talks with Mr Trump, the Prime Minister said: “There is complete unanimity on that point.”

The Prime Minister also warned Mr Trump against escalating his trade war with China.

“We are in favour of trade peace on the whole,” he said as the two leaders and their teams had a working breakfast at the Hotel du Palais.

Additional reporting from the Press Association

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Boris Johnson complains to Donald Trump over US restrictions on pork pies, peppers and shower trays

Boris Johnson warned that clinching a post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump would not be “plain sailing” as he detailed a litany of restrictions on British exports entering the United States.

He protested about the “very considerable barriers” faced by companies trying to sell goods as diverse as shower trays, pork pies, wine, cauliflower, rulers and insurance to American consumers.

The Prime Minister has spoken of his aim to secure a “fantastic” trade agreement with the US after Britain leaves the European Union.

He will hold talks with President Donald Trump on Sunday on the issue at the G7 meeting of world leaders in the French resort of Biarritz.

Mr Johnson will stress that the NHS will not be “on the table” in trade talks and that Britain will not compromise on standards of food hygiene and animal welfare.

Breakthrough hopes played down

U.S President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump land in France (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
U.S President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump land in France (Photo/Andrew Harnik/AP)

Ahead of the summit, he played down hopes of an early breakthrough as he disclosed that he had already discussed some of the restrictions with the President.

“I think there is a massive opportunity for Britain, but we must understand that it is not all going to be plain sailing,” Mr Johnson said.

“There remain very considerable barriers in the US to British businesses which are not widely understood.”

He said Britain had sold 250,000 shower trays around the world, but added: “There is some kind of bureaucratic obstacle that stops us selling them in the US because they are allegedly too low.”

The Prime Minister said wallpaper and pillows had to be fire-tested again upon arrival in the US rather than being automatically admitted.

Pork pies and peppers banned

Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron take their seats (Photo: Andrew Parsons/Pool/Getty Images)

Melton Mowbray pork pies and British peppers are barred from the US, while cauliflowers can only be imported through specific ports.

Mr Johnson protested that English-made wine exports were “heavily restricted”, while UK microbreweries faced heavy taxes to set up in the US.

Meanwhile, the American military is barred from buying British-made rulers and measuring devices because of strict public procurement rules.

“The point I am making is that there are massive opportunities for UK companies to open up, to prise open the American market,” the Prime Minister said.

“We intend to seize those opportunities but they are going to require our American friends to compromise and to open up their approach because currently there are too many restrictions.”

Asked by journalists whether he believed Mr Trump was more popular than commonly believed, he replied: “That’s very likely. President Trump has pioneered a quite remarkable way of communicating directly with the electorate.

“My impression is that is also popular with large numbers of people in our country.”

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Boris Johnson insists Britain will remain a ‘outward-looking, self-confident nation’ after Brexit

Boris Johnson declared that Britain would remain an “outward-looking, self-confident nation” and a key player on the international stage after Brexit as he headed for his first meeting of world leaders.

He will hold face-to-face talks with Donald Trump at the G7 summit on Sunday ahead of the launch of negotiations between Britain and the United States over a trade deal.

The Prime Minister is determined to use the gathering in the French resort of Biarritz to build on the apparent willingness of Germany and France to engage in fresh efforts to avoid a no-deal Brexit. He insisted that the UK would not become insular after leaving the European Union and he was determined to take a leading role in action to combat the world’s most pressing problems.

“The Britain I lead will be an international, outward-looking, self-confident nation,” Mr Johnson said.

UK will ‘remain at heart of world alliances’

Emmanuel Macron dashed Boris Johnson’s hopes that European Union leaders would make major concessions to resolve the Brexit stand-off
Emmanuel Macron dashed Boris Johnson’s hopes that European Union leaders would make major concessions to resolve the Brexit stand-off (Photo: AP/Daniel Cole)

“Some people question the democratic decision this country has made, fearing that we will retreat from the world. Some think Britain’s best days are behind us. To those people I say: you are gravely mistaken.

“We will stand up for liberty, democracy, the rule of law, equality and human rights – the ideals that we share with our friends and allies. We will remain at the heart of the alliances that span the world.”

He will join the leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan in Biarritz amid tensions over a joint response to world trouble-spots.

They will attempt to stake out common ground on Iran despite Mr Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the international agreement curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Fears of Russian aggression

Angela Merkel gave Boris Johnson a deadline of 30 days to find a formula for averting a no-deal Brexit
Angela Merkel gave Boris Johnson a deadline of 30 days to find a formula for averting a no-deal Brexit (Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty)

Also on the agenda are fears of Russian military aggression, the unrest in Hong Kong and the continuing civil war in Syria.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is the summit host, has scheduled discussions on the environment, maritime pollution and threats to biodiversity, as well as sessions on artificial intelligence and policing the internet.

Mr Trump and Mr Johnson have spoken warmly of each other and have a strong personal rapport.

However, key differences of outlook are likely to emerge in their breakfast meeting on Sunday.

Mr Johnson opposes the President’s call for Russia to be readmitted to the leading nations’ club after it was ejected from the G8 over its military activities in Ukraine.

At odds with Trump on Iran

He also disagrees with Mr Trump’s determination to rachet up economic pressure on Iran and with the President’s scepticism about global warming.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “This weekend we will see the ugly spectacle of our Prime Minister pursuing his ‘Trump First’ policy.”

Many other prominent world figures will attend the summit, including the European Council President, Donald Tusk, who will hold talks tomorrow with Mr Johnson.

The Prime Minister will tell him that he was encouraged by his meetings this week with Mr Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have suggested that the UK has a month to find an alternative to the contentious Irish backstop scheme.

He will also brief Mr Tusk on the government’s recent moves to accelerate planning for a potential no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

Mr Johnson played down the prospect of an imminent Brexit breakthrough, warning: “This is not going to be a cinch.”

Britain seeks major US trade deal

Britain is pressing for a comprehensive post-Brexit trade agreement with the United States rather than a series of side deals.

John Bolton, the US national security adviser, has floated the idea of the two nations hammering out “interim deals” to lower tariffs in specific sectors such as manufacturing.

But Boris Johnson will indicate in his G7 meeting tomorrow with Donald Trump that the UK’s preference is for an over-arching agreement covering all areas of the economy.

He is also understood to believe that it is more important to get the right deal for the UK rather than a speedy agreement.

Mr Johnson will reiterate his message that the National Health Service must not be caught up in transatlantic negotiations over trade, and that he will not compromise over food quality standards.

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Boris Johnson asks for Donald Trump’s support in landing top IMF post for George Osborne

Boris Johnson has lobbied Donald Trump to back Britain’s bid for George Osborne to become the next head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He is understood to have made the case for the former Chancellor in a telephone call to Mr Trump earlier this week.

The Prime Minister could return to the subject when he holds talks with the President on Sunday at the G7 summit at the French resort of Biarritz.

The search is on for a successor to Christine Lagarde who is stepping down after eight years at the IMF’s managing director.

Kristalina Georgieva, the Bulgarian chief executive of the World Bank, is the front-runner after she was endorsed by the European Union as its nomination for the job

Boris Johnson has promised to use the G7 summit to call for a renewed focus on protecting nature and tackling climate change (Photo: Thierry Chesnot/Getty)

Osborne ‘interested’ in job

However, Mr Osborne, who is now the editor of the London Evening Standard, has made known that he would be interested in the post.

He has reportedly argued that the current economic climate requires a “skilled political communicator and operator” and “not a technocrat”.

Although he and Mr Johnson were on different sides of the Brexit campaign, they have maintained a cordial relationship and he gave his paper’s endorsement for Mr Johnson’s successful campaign for the Tory leadership. Mr Osborne’s chances of landing the post would depend on Britain winning the backing of the United States and China against the candidate backed by the EU.

A close friend of David Cameron, he served as Chancellor for six years before being sacked by Theresa May as one of her first acts in Downing Street.

Wide portfolio of interests

Mr Osborne quit as an MP at the snap election of 2017 and has built up a wide portfolio of interests.

As well as editing the Standard, he acts as a £650,000-a-year adviser to fund managers Blackrock and has a lucrative sideline in public speaking.

The IMF was set up after the Second World War to co-ordinate global financial policy.

Jointly governed by 189 countries, its top job has traditionally gone to a European, although a Briton is yet to be appointed its managing director.

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Brexit, Johnson, Merkel, Macron – and 30 days in the wilderness

“We were also over-reliant on Angela Merkel, even after she showed us that she wasn’t as dependable a supporter as we might have wished,” wrote Daniel Korski, in his account of how David Cameron lost the EU referendum.  “She certainly seemed to take much more of a back seat during the final, crucial weeks of negotiations, giving advice, offering support and laying out red lines, but not getting too involved.”

An entire library could be assembled of stories claiming that Merkel would, at one time or another, come to the aid of a British Government during its to-and-fros with the European Union.  The claim is that Germany – as another pro-free trade, pro-American, pro-market economy country – is a natural UK ally.  But when push comes to shove, Merkel has stuck with France and the EU Commission.

Korski reminds his readers that she deserted Cameron over the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the Commission’s President, to which she was originally opposed.   As with Cameron, so with Theresa May: as recently as February, the German Chancellor called for “creative” thinking on…yes, the Northern Ireland backstop.  “We can still use the time to perhaps reach an agreement if everyone shows good will,” she said.

And as with May so, now, with Boris Johnson.  Once again, Merkel has said that there is time to agree a deal – 30 days, to be precise.  “The backstop has always been a fall-back option until this issue is solved,” she said on Wednesday, during a join press conference with the Prime Minister.  “It was said we will probably find a solution in two years. But we could also find one in the next 30 days, why not?”

Some have put that remark alongside Emmanuel Macron’s declaration that “the framework that has been negotiated by Michel Barnier that can be adapted,” and concluded that the EU is preparing to blink at the last moment, climb down on the backstop, and present Johnson with an amended Withdrawal Agreement – which will then at last pass through Parliament, thus bringing this chapter of the Brexit story to a close.

According to one version of events, the Prime Minister himself believes that such an outcome is still possible, while others in his top team don’t.  If so, the balance of the argument strongly suggests that they are right, for four main reasons.  First, the EU collectively takes its ideology seriously, and this demands sticking with the Withdrawal Agreement, or an agreement so like it as to make no difference.

Second, it must show Donald Trump, and the rest of the world, that if it takes a position on a major strategic issue, such as Brexit, it will hold to it.  Third, Germany and France must ultimately be sensitive to the concerns of smaller EU countries, of which one is in the Brexit front line: Ireland.  Fourth, they have reason to wait, along with the rest of the EU, to see if the Commons, when it returns in September, blocks Brexit yet again.

Finally, it is worth remembering that Merkel’s position is not as dominant as it was during the Cameron years; and even then, to quote Korski once again, she was prone to “not getting too involved”.  Seen in this light, Merkel and Macron’s words – which in any event must be considered in the context of everything else they said – look more like more gambits in a blame game than a genuine change of heart.

Johnson wants to signal that he’s up for a deal: that was the point of his visits before this weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz.  Macron and Merkel do, too: hence their hints of flexibility.  But the sum of the evidence is that “nothing has changed”.  In any event, it is far from certain that even a revised Withdrawal Agreement would get through Parliament.  That would require a Bill, which would of course be amendable, and time is very short.

If the EU had prized mutual gain over protecting its project, it wouldn’t have insisted that the Withdrawal Agreement precede trade talks.  Perhaps there will be a last minute shift after all, if Johnson can demonstrate that Parliament cannot stop the No Deal Brexit that his Government is actively preparing for: the European Council will meet on October 17.  But it appears that all concerned are now bracing for No Deal.

Some in Number Ten are hopeful that, if it happens, the EU will go for mass mini-deals – and so oil the wheels of economic co-operation.  That would be a rational response to the threat of recession in Germany and elsewhere, and the hard border in Ireland that a No Deal Brexit would bring.  But the EU’s clinging to the backstop, despite its commitment to seek alternative arrangements by December next year, suggests that rationality is in short supply.

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G7 summit 2019: How Emmanuel Macron plans to stop Donald Trump derailing trade talks

It’s France’s turn this year to host the G7 summit of the world’s most advanced economies as they prepare to discuss global issues ranging from trade tensions to climate change

But the burning question for President Emmanuel Macron is how to stop this weekend’s meeting in Biarritz from collapsing into the acrimonious, Donald Trump-dominated disaster we saw in Quebec, Canada last year. Then, the truculent US leader disowned the final summit communiqué in a fit of pique and personally lambasted the host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

For Biarritiz, Mr Macron appears to have a plan: he will skip the traditional summit communiqué. This means he will not be obliged to secure any joint position for the leaders – an exercise that often forces diplomats to seek the lowest common denominator. It also means the leaders can speak freely during their discussions. Mr Macron will summarise the results in a press statement after the summit, which will serve as his personal conclusions from the meeting.

Mr Macron is himself a former summit sherpa who has wrestled late into the night on the wording of formal communiqués, but he says they are often a waste of time. “There will be no final communiqué, but coalitions, commitments and follow-ups,” he said in a two-and-a-half-hour press briefing on Wednesday. “We must assume that, on one subject or another, a member of the club might not sign up.” 

Trade dilemmas

Donald Trump revealed he had discussed buying Greenland in meetings with his advisers (Photo: Getty)
Donald Trump revealed he has discussed buying Greenland in meetings with his advisers (Photo: Getty)

This year’s summit takes place at a turbulent time for globalisation, in no small part due to Mr Trump: he is embroiled in a trade war with China and threatening new ones with Europe; he walked out on the Paris climate agreement; and he abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, stoking conflict with Tehran. That is not to mention other issues like his bizarre battle with Denmark over his attempt to buy Greenland. 

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Why is everyone talking about this photo of Angela Merkel and Donald Trump?

Brexit is also undermining western unity, and the rising prospects of Britain leaving the EU in October without a deal could inflict huge economic damage. Biarritz will mark Boris Johnson’s G7 debut as Prime Minister, and he will be scrutinised over whether he sides with his EU partners or with Mr Trump, who is promising a gargantuan trade deal with post-Brexit Britain. 

Mr Macron has described the summit as a key stage in his effort to save an endangered liberal world order. France, he said has a “particular responsibility” in reshaping globalisation. Otherwise, he said, “Europe is at risk of fading … and losing its sovereignty.”

The G7 gathers the US, France, Britain, Japan, Germany, Italy and Canada, as well as the European Union. Mr Macron has also invited the leaders of Australia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Egypt, India, Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa to join a debate on inequality. “The time when a club of rich countries could alone define the world’s balances is long gone,” he said.

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Trump administration moves to abolish migrant custody limits so children can be detained indefinitely

The Trump administration has announced new regulations that could see migrant children who cross America’s southern border with their families illegally become detained indefinitely.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced the new legislation, which replaces a former agreement that set 20-day limits for holding migrant children, CNN reported.

The new rule, which is expected to be challenged in court, is part of the administration’s effort to overhaul immigration laws, with recent proposals including increasing the difficulty in getting green cards, limiting routes to declaring asylum and ending the temporary protected status for migrants.

The Florest settlement, a decades-old court agreement, required the government to release a minor from custody as quickly as possible, with the limit set to 20 days.

The new changes are set to come into effect in 60 days’ time, and will be published this week in the Federal Register, The New York Times reported.

‘A critical rule’

Critics are calling the new rule “devastating” (Photo: Getty)
McAleenan said the change is designed to reduce the number of families attempting to enter into the country.

“Today the government has issued a critical rule that will permit the Department of Homeland Security to appropriately hold families together and improve the integrity of the immigration system,” said Mr McAleenan, BBC News reported.

“This rule allows the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress and ensures that all children in US government custody are treated with dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability.”

New regulation

Under the new rules, the government could send families caught crossing the border illegally to family residential centres for as long as their cases take (Photo: Getty)

Under the new rules, the government would be able to send families caught crossing the border illegally to a family residential centre for as long as it takes for their cases to be decided.

American Immigration Council responded to the news on Twitter and said: “Even a short period of detention— let alone prolonged detention—has devastating, often lifelong effects on children.”

Raices, an immigration services non-profit organisation, tweeted: “The Flores Settlement is crucially important for the humane treatment of immigrant children, and Trump is again trying to kill it. Please get the word out.

We must Save Flores.”

Separating families

Last year Mr Trump received global criticism over the separation of migrant parents and children at the US Border as a way to avoid breaking the Flores settlement.

It was believed nearly 2,000 children have been split from their parents between mid-April and the end of May.

Video footage at the time showed some of the children being held in wire cages at detention centres. An audio recording captured them crying. The recordings have not been independently verified.

This was a consequence of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which is aimed at securing borders and deterring illegal immigration.

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Why does Donald Trump want to buy Greenland? What purchasing the territory for the US from Denmark would actually mean

Donald Trump’s suggested purchase of Greenland raised eyebrows around the world when the idea was first mentioned last week.

But what has motivated the US president to consider the divisive real estate deal?

Mr Trump suggested he was interested in using the Danish-owned territory for “strategic purposes”.

Speculation has been rife since about what he has in mind for the island – which is currently home to around 55,000 residents.

What could Greenland be used for?

Mr Trump said Greenland was ‘strategically’ attractive (Photo: Getty)

Because of its sheer size and location Greenland offers the potential to be used as the location for a US military base closer to Europe, and Russia.

The US military has operated for decades from Thule Air Base in Greenland, which is situated between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

The northern-most US base is part of the military’s global network of radars and other sensors to provide ballistic missile warning and space surveillance.

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But US officials have also hinted that they are interested in the island’s raw materials.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said Greenland was “a strategic place” with “a lot of valuable minerals”.

The country is known to harbour some of the largest deposits of rare-earth metals, including neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium, along with uranium and the byproducts of zinc.

The potentially massive reserves could make the US less reliant on China for rare industrial substances, which the far-eastern nation has threatened to withhold in the current trade war.

So-called “rare-earth metals” are used in the manufacture of everything from mobile phones and computers to electric cars.

Will Denmark sell Greenland?

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen categorically told Mr Trump the island is "not for sale". (Getty)
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says no (Photo: Getty)

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has expressly said that Greenland is “not for sale”.

Trump hit back on Wednesday by postponing an upcoming meeting to Denmark which had been planned for September.

Mr Trump tweeted that “based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time”.

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Ms Frederiksen dismissed the idea of selling Greenland as “an absurd discussion” but said that the Arctic, with resources that Russia and others could exploit for commercial gain, “is becoming increasingly important to the entire world community”.

President Trump previously hoped to win Ms Frederiksen over by making reference to the financial burden Greenland places on Denmark.

“Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done,” he said last week.

“It’s hurting Denmark very badly, because they’re losing almost 700 million dollars (£577 million) a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss.”

For now though it appears any deal is unlikely to go ahead, with the president even admitting that buying Greenland is not his number one priority.

“It’s just something we’ve talked about,” Mr Trump told reporters when asked about the idea.

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Donald Trump cancels visit to Denmark because they won’t let him buy Greenland

US president Donald Trump has cancelled an upcoming visit to Denmark after the county’s prime minister said Greenland is not for sale.

Mr Trump has recently expressed an interest in purchasing the Danish-owned island but said it is not his number one priority. 

Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday that Mr Trump’s idea of buying Greenland from Denmark is “an absurd discussion”, stating the world’s largest island is not for sale.

The President has taken umbridge with the Danish premier’s comments, and said in a tweet: “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.”

Obama visiting Denmark

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called Trump’s desire to buy Greenland ‘absurd’ (Photo: Getty)

Queen Margrethe II had formally invited the US President to visit Denmark as part of a European trip, with a scheduled date of 2 and 3 September – jsut weeks before Barack Obama is due to visit the country to deliver a talk in Aalborg.

Journalist Maggi Haberman suggested that Mr Trump is using Greenland as a cover for the real reason he does not want to visit Denmark. “Unanswered question: what’s the real reason Trump didn’t want to go to Denmark that he’s blaming on the Greenland thing?” she asked. 

It has been suggested former president Obama would draw bigger crowds on his visit, creating an unwanted comparison with Mr Trump.

David Frum, a journalist and former speechwriter for George W Bush told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he believes Mr Trump “was terrified of the contrast between the reception former president Obama would get and he would get”.

“He began looking around for an excuse to not visit Denmark – and Greenland became it,” he added.

Obama’s latest trip to the country was announced by venue Musikkens Hus for an event entitled “A Conversation with President Barack Obama”, The Local reported.

Tickets cost between 3,500 and 8,500 kroner (£428 – £1,041) for invited business leaders, while students can attend for free.

‘Not a priority’

Donald Trump thanked the Danish prime minister for being so clear (Photo: Getty)

Mr Trump said on Sunday he was interested in buying Greenland for strategic purposes, but said a purchase was not a priority at this time.

“It’s not No. 1 on the burner,” he told reporters.

The US military has operated for decades from Thule Air Base in Greenland, which is situated between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

The northern-most US base is part of the military’s global network of radars and other sensors to provide ballistic missile warning and space surveillance.

‘I thank her’

Trump previously said that Greenland was ‘strategically’ attractive (Photo: Getty)

The White House announced in late July that Mr Trump had accepted an invitation to visit Denmark’s Queen Margrethe and participate in a series of meetings, including with Ms Frederiksen and business leaders.

The trip, set to begin at the end of August, included a stop in Poland for Mr Trump to help commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

But ffter having his suggestions rebuffed by Denmark’s prime minister and declaring he will no longer visit the country, Mr Trump said in a tweet: “The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”

The cancellation was “deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark”, said former prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Mr Trump is expected to go ahead with the Poland portion of the trip.

Additional reporting from Press Association. 

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A big question about Hong Kong – and even bigger ones about migration and China

We have been here before – at least, in a manner of speaking.  In 1989, the then Conservative Government granted British citizenship to some 250,000 people from Hong Kong.  There was a paradox to the decision: Ministers’ intention was not that they should enter Britain under the scheme.  Rather, this was that it would encourage them to stay in Hong Kong, by giving them certainty about their future, thus halting a mass exodus.

The gambit was sparked by doubts about whether China would honour the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, under which the two countries agreed terms for the transfer of Hong Kong, and which was due to come into effect in 1997.  It worked.  Tensions simmered down, and there was no mass take-up of UK passports.

But there has always been a giant questionmark against China’s honouring of the “one country, two systems” provisions within the declaration.  It is highly visible now.  Two years ago, the country’s Foreign Ministry described the declaration as an “historical document, [which] no longer has any practical significance, and does not have any binding effect on the Chinese central government’s management of the Hong Kong”.

It is unlikely that China will presently send troops into Hong Kong, and formally tear up the commitments enshrined in the join declaration.  But the possibility exists, now or in the future: it is currently showing videos of troops massing on Hong Kong’s borders.  This is part of its response to pro-democracy protests, which were concentrated originally on opposition to an extradition bill, under which suspects could be sent to China for trial.  But the aims of demonstrators spread wider: they demand the free election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and legislature.

In essence, the settlement left by the joint declaration is unstable. For example, Hong Kong has a legislature of which only half the seats are directly elected.  And although China has powerful incentives not to tear up the “one country, two systems provisions” – which would do its Belt and Road initiative abroad no good – the people of Hong Kong cannot be sure what the future will hold.

Hence the proposal by Tom Tugendhat and others to grant British citizenship to the 169,000 or so British Nationals Overseas in Hong Kong.  Some want a bigger offer: the Adam Smith Institute also proposes to “open up the application process to the 4.5 million Hong Kong nationals”.  Some, a smaller one: the Sun wants Britain to admit “the best and brightest in the small territory”.  It might be that such a scheme would have the same effect as that of 1989: in other words, to encourage people to stay in Hong Kong rather than leave for the United Kingdom.

Then again, it might not – either now or, far more likely, in future.  And the context in Britain has changed since 1989.  Some, very largely but not exclusively on the left, support all migration, pretty much.  Others would welcome a big influx of hard-working, family-orientated, Hong Kongers: this has an appeal for parts of the right.  But even though public concern about immigration seems to have eased off recently, there is reason for caution.

As the Migration Observatory puts it in one of its headline findings: “British views are not favourable towards immigration and a substantial majority would like immigration to be reduced”.  Furthermore, Government policy is in flux.

Boris Johnson wants to scrap Theresa May’s unmet pledge to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, and promises Dominic Cummings’s fabled Australian-style points system instead.  But it is far from clear what numbers this plan would produce – and numbers, though not everything in immigration debate, are much.  And the system faces a daunting challenge in any event.

The Government now says that in the event of a No Deal Brexit – arguably now the most likely outcome – free movement will end immediately, which would certainly be popular with many voters.  However, it isn’t apparent what system will be used to distinguish between EU nationals who have applied for the new settlement scheme and those who haven’t, to name only the most obvious of the problems bound up with immediate change.

In 1989, Norman Tebbit led a backbench revolt against the passport plan for Hong Kongers. It was less successful than advance publicity suggested.  But there is no guarantee that the outcome would be similar this time round, were the more ambitious of the Hong Kong schemes to be tried.

Ultimately, the problem of how to respond to China over Hong Kong is a sub-set of the problem of how to respond to it more broadly – which points to the wider debate over Huawei, China, our infrastructure and national security.  We could and should, as in 1989, offer some passports to Hong Kongers.  But, as then, the should and must be strictly limited.

Meanwhile, it’s worth remembering that the Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty, registered at the United Nations.  Which means that third parties have an interest in upholding it, however distant.  In the case of Donald Trump, this might not be remote at all, given his stance on China.

Boris Johnson is due to see Trump soon – and frequently, given the mutual interest in a trade deal.  The former ought to put Hong Kong on the agenda.  Admittedly, the President is no fan of more migration to America.  But it just might be that there is an Anglosphere offer to be made to Hong Kongers on a bigger scale than Britain could make alone.

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Donald Trump confirms he is considering ‘real estate deal’ to buy Greenland

President Donald Trump has confirmed he is considering buying Greenland from Denmark, but admitted it is not his number one priority.

Mr Trump said on Sunday the world’s biggest island was “strategically” interesting, adding it was “just something we’ve talked about”.

On Thursday, an aide told the Associated Press that Mr Trump was not seriously thinking of purchasing Greenland, following a report in the Wall Street Journal claiming the President had asked his counsel to look into the acquisition.

Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said the US President’s idea of buying Greenland from Denmark is “an absurd discussion”, reiterating that the Danish territory is not for sale.

‘It’s just something we’ve talked about’

“It’s just something we’ve talked about,” Mr Trump told reporters when asked about purchasing Greenland (Photo: Getty)

“It’s just something we’ve talked about,” Mr Trump told reporters when asked about the idea.

“Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark.

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Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland from Denmark – but can he actually do it?

“We’ve protected Denmark like we protect large portions of the world, so the concept came up.”

He also suggested that the semi-autonomous territory was a financial burden to Denmark.

The US military has operated for decades from Thule Air Base in Greenland, which is situated between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

The northern-most US base is part of the military’s global network of radars and other sensors to provide ballistic missile warning and space surveillance.

“Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,” the president said.

‘Greenland is not Danish’

Officials in Greenland have said it is not for sale (Photo: Getty)

Ms Frederiksen, who was visiting the world’s largest island to meet premier Kim Kielsen, said: “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic.

“I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant.”

Ms Frederiksen said that the Arctic, with resources that Russia and others could exploit for commercial gain, “is becoming increasingly important to the entire world community”.

Mr Trump is expected to visit Denmark in early September as part of a trip to Europe.

‘Hurting Denmark’

The President is set to visit Greenland is September as part of a trip to Europe (Photo: Getty)

Mr Trump, who made a fortune in the New York real estate market and owns or licenses properties around the world, appeared to cast the idea from the perspective of a developer.

“Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done.

“It’s hurting Denmark very badly, because they’re losing almost $700m (£577 million) a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss,” he said.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, appearing on Fox News on Sunday, said Greenland was “a strategic place” with “a lot of valuable minerals”.

Additional reporting from Press Association. 

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Donald Trump set to roll back protections for endangered species – but states vow to fight it

The Trump Administration is set to overhaul the US Endangered Species Act, one of the country’s landmark conservation laws, with rules coming into effect in September.

The move has prompted state attorney generals and conservation groups to threaten legal action, with critics arguing it is part of wider plans by Mr Trump to accelerate oil, gas and coal production.

The new changes will remove automatic protections for threatened wildlife in the US, leading to experts arguing it will hasten the extinction of vulnerable species.

The 1973 Endangered Species Act is credited with saving numerous at-risk species from extinction, including bald eagles, grey whales and grizzly bears, but has long been a source of frustration for drilling and mining companies, as vast areas of land are kept off-limits to development.

‘A bulldozer’ through the Act

Experts fear the new changes could prove deadly for butterflies and wolverines (Photo: Getty)

“These changes crash a bulldozer through the Endangered Species Act’s lifesaving protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species director.

“For animals like wolverines and monarch butterflies, this could be the beginning of the end. We’ll fight the Trump administration in court to block this rewrite, which only serves the oil industry and other polluters who see endangered species as pesky inconveniences.”

The new changes mean that the Fish and Wildlife Service would need to write individual rules for each threatened species, effectively slowing down their protection. The new rules will also enable wildlife managers to carry out economic assessments, meaning money lost from protecting a habitat could now become a considering factor when determining the future of an endangered species. The original act protected wildlife regardless of the financial impact.

Vulnerable animals

Protections for Key deers – of which there are only 1,000 in Lower Keys – are reportedly being removed by the government (Photo: Getty)

A report by the United Nations found that one million animal and plant species are now at risk of becoming extinct – many within decades.

Last week the US government was found to be considering removing the Key deer from the Endangered Species List, despite there only being 1,000 of the species in Lower Keys – the only place they exist in the world – the Miami Herald reported.

“The revisions finalized with this rulemaking fit squarely within the President’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals,” US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

Fighting the changes

Bald eagles are one of the species saved under the Endangered Species Act (Photo: Getty)

There are plans to fight the new changes however, as Massachusetts and California will lead a multi-state lawsuit alongside conservation groups once the final rule is published in the Federal Register in the next few weeks.

The states plan to challenge the legislation overhaul, calling it an “illegal” process to alter it, Reuters reported.

“By gutting key components of the Endangered Species Act, one of our country’s most successful environmental laws, the Trump Administration is putting our most imperiled species and our vibrant local tourism and recreation industries at risk,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

“We will be taking the Administration to court to defend federal law and protect our rare animals, plants, and the environment,” she added.

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Donald Trump reportedly wants to buy Greenland from Denmark – but can he actually do it?

It might be the most ambitious acquisition yet from US President Donald Trump.

The former businessman has reportedly asked his White House counsel to look into buying Greenland for the US, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper reported that Mr Trump’s aides were divided on the issue, with some considering it a good economic strategy, and others dismissing it as not serious.

On Thursday, a Trump ally told the Associated Press the president’s discussions around purchasing the world’s biggest island were not serious.

The White House has not commented on the report, but Greenland’s Foreign Minister Ane Lone Bagger has dismissed the idea. She told Reuters: “We are open for business, but we’re not for sale.”

Previous attempt

The US bought Alaska from Russia in 1867 (Photo: Getty)

In 1946, President Harry Truman attempted to acquire the autonomous Danish territory.

He proposed to pay Denmark $100m to buy Greenland after flirting with the idea of swapping land in Alaska for strategic parts of the Arctic island, but was refused.

Could Trump buy Greenland?

Greenland has a number of geopolitical attractions that could make it desirable to Trump (Photo: Getty)

Greenland has a population of around 56,000, and although it is a self-ruling territory of Denmark, foreign and security policy is controlled by Copenhagen.

The US already has ties to Greenland, as one of the country’s major airbases is located on the north-west of the country.

Scott Lucas, Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Birmingham University, told i that Mr Trump could indeed buy Greenland – but it depends on Denmark.

“Denmark would have to want to sell it, because obviously Greenland is autonomous but it is part of the country,” he explained. “If Denmark wanted to go through the economic and political process then yes, it could be done.”

He also pointed out that when Russia sold Alaska to the US in 1867, many dubbed the purchase a “Seward’s Folly”, after US Secretary of State William H Seward bought it for $7m. Over time, public perception over this changed as it became clear Alaska was a good source of oil, turning the acquisition into a landmark moment in US politics.

Prof. Lucas added that Mr Trump is known for liking “big things”, and the president may be thinking of the purchase as his “legacy”.

“Trump maybe thinks: ‘I could get the world’s largest island and make it American’,” he said.

He is sceptiacal however that the acquisition would actually happen. If the deal were to really be underway then there would have been silent negotiations outside of media attention, instead of leaked conversations, he said.

Why would Trump want Greenland?

US President Donald Trump could be looking at what kind of legacy he’ll have when considering buying Greenland (Photo: Getty)

Greenland has a number of geopolitical attributes to it that would make it attractive to Mr Trump, Prof Lucas said.

He pointed out that during the Cold War, Greenland was America’s northern-most base and geographically useful as a site of protection against Soviet attacks.

Secondly, Greenland’s importance for climate change is huge since most of it is covered in ice.

“There are American research facilities there to monitor the melting of the ice caps, so if I’d hope that Donald Trump was interested to see what we could to to tackle climate change using Greenland as an example.

“That’d be a good thing, but I don’t think that’s whats going to happen.”

Mr Trump’s desire to purchase Greenland could have been a tactical political leak, too. Earlier this week Vox media reported the US may be headed for another recession, and the president could be using the Greenland story as a distraction from this, Prof Lucas said.

“Trump’s advisers could be happy for this to get attention because of the bad economic news coming out of the states this week – being so bad there’s a need for distraction,” he said.

Additional reporting from Press Association.

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Donald Trump suggests China’s Xi talks to Hong Kong protesters

US President Donald Trump has urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet personally with the protesters in Hong Kong, saying it would lead to an end to tensions that have convulsed the territory for weeks.

Mr Trump’s tweet came a day after he said a US trade deal with China would be dependent on a humane resolution of the weeks of protests wracking Hong Kong. 

Mr Trump also appeared to tout a meeting between the two leaders in a bid to help solve the Hong Kong crisis. “ I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?” he tweeted.

The US State Department had said it was “deeply concerned” about reports of movement of Chinese paramilitary forces along the Hong Kong border.

‘Significant economic consequences’

Mr Trump, who has been seeking a major deal to correct trade imbalances with China ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, has faced criticism from Congress for not taking a stronger public line on Hong Kong and for his characterisation of the protests earlier this month as “riots”.

He had also said the crisis was simply a matter between Hong Kong and its giant neighbour.

Chinese soldiers practice detaining a person on the grounds of the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center in Shenzhen across the bay from Hong Kong (Photo:  Thomas Peter/Reuters)

His apparently tougher stance followed an internal debate within the White House and State Department over whether the United States was looking too compliant as the Chinese appeared to be preparing for a crackdown.

Significantly,  on Wednesday evening, the White House’s most senior hawk, national security adviser, John Bolton took a much tougher line, telling the Voice of America that the mood in Congress was “very volatile” with regard to Hong Kong, and he warned that “a misstep by the Chinese government, I think, would cause an explosion on Capitol Hill”.

He noted that  around 60 percent of investment into mainland China went through Hong Kong, because of the former British colony’s trustworthy judicial system.

“If Hong Kong loses that reputation because of a bad decision by the Chinese government, they’ll have significant economic consequences in China this time,” he said, adding that Americans still remembered Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Three senior Hong Kong police officers said on Thursday that they are not aware of any plans for Chinese forces to join efforts to quell mass demonstrations in the territory, as images this week showed paramilitary exercises in a neighboring mainland city. 

But China’s tough-talking ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming told a London press conference that Beijing would  not “sit on its hands” if the situation in Hong Kong continued to deteriorate after more than two months of near-daily street protests. 

Mr  Liu said extremists masquerading as pro-democracy activists were dragging Hong Kong “down a dangerous road”. 

Additional reporting from Reuters.

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UK must accept chlorine chicken in post-Brexit trade deal – and there’s nothing wrong with it, says US farm chief

The head of the US farming lobby said that the UK would have to accept chlorinated chicken as part of a post-Brexit US trade deal – arguing there was “no scientific basis” to concerns about the procedure.

Zippy Duvall, who heads up the American Farm Bureau and is himself a poultry farmer, told the BBC that his members would not accept a trade deal with the UK that includes meat washed with chlorine.

His intervention comes after Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday that the UK is the “first in line” for a trade deal with the United States.

‘We treat our water with chlorine’

Zippy Duvall said the procedure is safe. (Photo: American Farm Bureau)

The farming lobbyist was asked by the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme whether there was scope for chlorinated chicken to be removed from a trade deal.

He replied: “To have a trade treaty and not discuss agriculture would be turning your back on rural America and that’s where a big part of our population lives.”

He defended the procedure, arguing that regulators would not allow it to happen if it was unsafe.

He said: “You know, here in America we treat our water with chlorine.

“There is no scientific basis that says that washing poultry with a chlorine wash just to be safe of whatever pathogens might be on that chicken as it was prepared for the market, should be taken away.

“If there was something wrong with it our federal inspection systems would not be allowing us to use that.”

Critics say that the procedure is often used to make up for dubious welfare standards further up the supply chain.

‘The choice of what food they want to eat’

Packages of Foster Farms chicken are for sale in a cooler at a grocery store on October 9, 2013 in San Anselmo, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Mr Duvall said that reducing the tariffs between the UK and US would give consumers a better choice in both countries.

“A lot of our farmers don’t understand why other countries implement tariffs on our products but then they don’t want us to implement any tariffs on our end, so we need to level that playing field, tear down all those barriers and let our people be able to make the choice of what food they want to eat and where it’s grown at,” he said.

His comments come after Mr Bolton argued that the countries could do individual sectoral deals that would build up to a comprehensive trade agreement during a trip to London this week.

He said: “The ultimate end result is a comprehensive trade agreement covering all trading goods and services,”

“But to get to that you could do it sector by sector, and you can do it in a modular fashion. In other words, you can carve out some areas where it might be possible to reach a bilateral agreement very quickly, very straightforwardly.”

‘There’s no quid pro quo on any of these issues’

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives for a meeting with Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid (Photo: PA)

It is unclear how these deals would fare in the US House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Democrats, who have to approve any trade deals before they become law.

Endorsing the UK decision to leave the EU, Mr Bolton said “Britain’s success in successfully exiting the European Union will be a statement about democratic rule and constitutional government,”

“That’s important for Britain, but it’s important for the United States, too. So we see a successful exit as being very much in our interest, and there’s no quid pro quo on any of these issues.”

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How not to destroy Trump and Johnson

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson both have a capacity to provoke torrents of abuse from otherwise moderate, well-behaved people. An article this week for The New York Times raises the question of whether, given the failure of the most vicious insults to have any visible effect on the President’s poll ratings, “the search for a killer line on Mr Trump is a fool’s errand”.

He has been called “a pathological liar”, “a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot”, “ISIL man of the year”, “utterly amoral”, a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen”, and a “terrible human being” who has made “disgusting and indefensible” comments about women, to quote but a few of the things said about him by senior Republicans.

I have not gone to the trouble of collecting a comparable series of insults about Johnson. But in the latest London Review of Books, Ferdinand Mount calls him “a seedy, treacherous chancer”, and there is plenty more where that came from.

Trump and Johnson speak well of each other, but are in important respects quite different. Johnson is better educated, more charitable, more favourably disposed towards immigrants, more loyal to the institutions to which he belongs or has belonged, and more anxious to unite people, and to restore friendly relations when he has annoyed them.

But both men have benefited, at various points, from being underestimated by their critics, who perhaps supposed that no one could survive such fierce attacks.

And supporters of Trump and Johnson sometimes get the impression they too are being written off as evil and repulsive people. Hillary Clinton was explicit about this. She said at one of her fundraisers that you could put half Trump’s supporters in “the basket of deplorables”, for they are, in her view, “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it”.

This is not very good politics. The easy hit of self-righteousness, the casting into outer darkness of one’s opponents and their followers, enables one to avoid the more difficult task of scrutinising what those opponents are saying, and working out which bits of it constitute a legitimate response to the understandable concerns of, say, car workers who worry their jobs are going to Mexico.

Johnson benefits from the same lack of proper scrutiny. In recent weeks he has made announcements on such matters as health spending, police numbers and prisons which might equally well have come from a moderate Labour leader.

The Opposition has been reduced to silence, or to fringe subjects like grouse shooting. It informs us from time to time that Johnson is a liar, but this means it cannot respond to what he actually says. By indulging in character assassination, it has deprived itself of an opponent with whom it could have an argument.

On Brexit, it insists Johnson is leading the country to perdition, but its warnings are often put in such apocalyptic terms that voters wonder whether things are going to be quite as bad as all that; wonder indeed whether it is the Remainers who have lost touch with reality.

The case against exaggerating your opponent’s faults was well put by Tony Blair in his memoir, A Journey. Here is his defence of the gentle art of disparaging understatement:

I defined Major as weak; Hague as better at jokes than judgment; Howard as an opportunist; Cameron as a flip-flop, not knowing where he wanted to go. (The Tories did my work for me in undermining Iain Duncan Smith.) Expressed like that, these attacks seem flat, rather mundane almost, and not exactly inspiring – but that’s their appeal. Any one of those charges, if it comes to be believed, is actually fatal. Yes, it’s not like calling your opponent a liar, or a fraud, or a villain or a hypocrite, but the middle-ground floating voter kind of shrugs their shoulders at those claims. They don’t chime. They’re too over the top, too heavy, and they represent an insult, not an argument. Whereas the lesser charge, because it’s more accurate and precisely because it’s more low-key, can stick.

Trump will probably defeat himself in the end. So perhaps will Johnson. Their opponents seem unable to find the right words.

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James Arnell: The conventional wisdom about a trade deal with America is wrong. Trump will want a fair one. Here’s why.

James Arnell is a partner at Charterhouse. He writes in a personal capacity.

I disagree with most commentators who believe that the UK will get a raw deal in any US-UK trade negotiations after Brexit.

I do not underestimate the fickleness of Trump, nor the Irish-American lobby in Congress. I recognise the overwhelming weight of the US relative to the UK.  I know that the US looks after its interests and does no one any favours.

But I don’t think any of that will stop us agreeing a decent trade deal. I believe that the US has major strategic interests in a trade deal with the UK, and that it will decide not to use all the undeniable leverage it has to strike the toughest possible terms.  It will want to strike a fair deal.

The US is in “America First” mode.  Contrary to what most people seem to believe, I believe that means Trump, and the American people, wish to see a global trading system which it sees as fair from its perspective.  There are many senior American business people who believe that the renegotiation of NAFTA was long overdue, and who are throughly fed up with the uneven playing field between the US and China.

Yes, they worry about the effects of the US-China trade war on the US economy, but many of them believe that some fights just have to be had.  There is more patriotism in American business and much more business support for Trump’s China line than the media presents.

The opportunity to strike a trade deal with a long-term ally like the UK is timely.  Agreeing an even-handed trade deal sends a strong message: this is about fairness, not American economic bullying.  I am optimistic that the US, across the political spectrum, will support a fair deal with the UK, because I think that it has a very strong interest in sending that message.

And that is not all.


A thriving UK, in a comprehensive free trade relationship with the US, right on the periphery of the EU, will put massive pressure on it.  Other EU countries, fed up with the federal agenda of the EU, will look at the UK and wonder whether they too might be better free and able to strike their own trade relationships.  This threat to the EU will be eyed by the US as great leverage to force the EU into what the US would see as a fair trade deal.  They will want the UK to succeed in its deal with the US.  They won’t want to screw us – because that would make it far too easy for the EU to keep its trade barriers up.

The US’ leverage is greater if any UK-US trade deal is designed to be as close as possible to something the EU could, should and, ultimately, would accept.  There is no leverage in agreeing a deal which does not work for the UK and which certainly would not work for the EU, and the smart money in the US will know it.

Aside from its desire to show an openness to trade with partners who do not play the US for fools, and its desire to pressurise the EU, the US will also welcome a committed ally in the global struggle for a new trade order, binding the three big blocs (US, China, Europe) into a more open, more level world trade regime or, at least, binding the rest of the world into a trading system around an unreformed China.  That is the best chance of America remaining “First”.

At present, we are in the phase of pulling down the old system, which the US sees as rotten and against its own interests.  We should not confuse that with isolationism.  My firm belief is that the US will relish the opportunity to show the world what its new order should look like, by agreeing a sensible deal with the UK.

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A UK-US trade deal. Never mind the economics (at least for a moment). Feel the politics.

“While trade deals have taken on an important political and symbolic value in the context of Brexit,” Dominic Walsh of Open Europe wrote recently on this site, “their economic benefits are typically smaller and slower to materialise than many realise.” This is the place to start when considering a possible UK-US agreement on trade.  Boris Johnson’s enthusiasm for one is as much political as economic: a successful deal would show Britain, as it moves a bit further from the EU, also moving a bit closer to America.

Such a rebalancing is a strategic consequence of Brexit, at least in the eyes of many backers of leaving the EU.  Future trade deals were a Vote Leave EU referendum priority – though it may be significant that the United States was not one of the headline countries named.  Perhaps the reason was a wariness of anti-American sentiment among a section of the voting public.  None the less, the prospect of a trade agreement with the United States was mooted during the 2016 campaign: hence Barack Obama’s line, written for him by Team Cameron, of Britain being “at the back of the queue” for such a deal.

The obstacles to one are formidable.  For while the Prime Minister is bound to view it through the lens of politics, Donald Trump is more likely to do through that of economics – though the one admittedly tends to blur into the other.  America’s approach to such matters as food safety and animal welfare, environmental protection and intellectual property rights is different from ours in any event.  Never mind the red herring of chlorinated chickens – so to speak – or autopilot claims from Corbynistas about NHS selloffs. The real action is elsewhere.  The United States has long had a protectionist streak, and is resistant to opening up its financial services markets, for example.

The conventional view is that Trump is the biggest America Firster of all; that he would drive a hard bargain, that he has the muscle to do so – and that he wouldn’t be in control of an agreement anyway.  Congress could block one if it wished, and might well do so in the event of No Deal, since the Irish-American lobby is as well-entrenched as ever.  It has been a headache for British governments over Ireland-linked matters before: remember the McBride principles.  A different take is that politics may win out in the end, because both Trump and Congress will want a UK trade deal in order to put economic and political pressure on the EU: we will publish more about that later this week.

John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Adviser, is visiting Britain.  He said yesterday that the UK will be “first in line” for a trade agreement post-Brexit – a deliberate counter to Obama’s line.  Bolton will be dangling the prospect as an inducement.  He will want Johnson to take a more resistant line to Huawei than Theresa May did, and for the UK to move closer to America’s position on Iran.  But the possibility of early sector deals – or at least the exclusion of Britain from new pro-protection moves – seems to be real enough.  As with the NHS, policing, immigration and stop and search, so with trade.  Johnson wants progress towards a quick win as a possible election looms.

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Dominic Walsh: What would No Deal mean for trade beyond the EU?

Dominic Walsh is a policy analyst for Open Europe.

At present, the UK and the EU are on course for a No Deal Brexit. Yesterday morning, EU negotiators said there was no basis for any “meaningful discussions” about a potential deal. Meanwhile, in Westminster, it is far from clear that Parliament will be able to stop No Deal, which remains the legal default on October 31.

There has rightly been a lot of focus on what No Deal would mean for the UK’s trade with the EU. However, No Deal also has significant implications for the UK’s trade with the rest of the world – bringing both threats (some trade deals the UK enjoys through the EU will be lost and haven’t been replaced), and potential opportunities (the UK will be able to exercise an independent trade policy from day one).

The UK will set its own tariffs on all imports

In the immediate event of a No Deal exit, the UK’s ability to unilaterally set its own tariff regime on imports is likely to be a more significant plank of UK trade policy than trade deals. The Government’s current approach, which removes tariffs on 87 per cent of goods imports to the UK, has advantages and disadvantages, but correctly errs towards the interests of the UK consumer, while protecting some sensitive producers such as in the farming sector. At present, this regime is only due to last for a year – with uncertainty over what comes next.

The Government has several options for the long-term and, as ever with Brexit, there are trade-offs to confront. Continuing with a liberal approach to tariffs could have benefits for consumers and would increase competition in the UK economy.

However, there is an argument that unilateral liberalisation undermines the UK’s leverage with potential trade partners (who may think there is little point in doing a deal if they are already getting zero-tariff access for free). Raising tariffs, on the other hand, could restore some of this leverage, but at the cost of increasing trade barriers and imposing a regressive tax on consumers. The Government will need to decide swiftly after No Deal which approach is the best way forward.

Preserving EU trade deals 

As an EU member, the UK benefits from around 40 trade deals the EU has negotiated with around 70 third countries. The importance of these deals to the UK economy varies considerably. While trade with these 70 countries makes up approximately 15 per cent of the UK’s total trade, two thirds of this is with just six countries – Canada, South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Switzerland, and Norway. Many of the other countries covered by EU agreements make up less than 0.05 per cent of UK trade. When it comes to rolling over trade deals, quality beats quantity.

Under Liam Fox, the Department of International Trade made better progress in “rolling over” existing EU agreements than some have given it credit, though significant gaps remain. Of the six major partners above, it has secured continuity agreements with Switzerland, Norway, and South Korea.

However, Japan has refused to roll over its existing deal with the EU, as it thinks it can get better terms through a bespoke bilateral deal. The UK’s current trading arrangements with Turkey rely on the latter’s customs union with the EU, and therefore cannot be preserved in a No Deal context. And negotiations with Canada have stalled because the UK’s low No Deal tariffs give competitor countries without a trade deal the same levels of access as Canada (known as “preference erosion”).

In addition, the “rollovers” that the UK has secured do not all provide full trade continuity. For example, the deals with Norway, Iceland and Switzerland provide for tariff-free trade in goods, but do not cover services or regulatory alignment in product standards.

The consequences of failing to preserve EU trade deals in a No Deal will affect exporters more than importers, thanks to the UK’s relatively liberal No Deal tariff regime. For example, businesses exporting cheese to Canada face eye-watering tariffs of 245 per cent, whereas Canadian pearls and precious stones (73 per cent of UK imports from Canada) would continue to enter the UK tariff-free.

New avenues for global trade

Whatever the outcome of Brexit, it makes sense for the UK to diversify its trade beyond the EU. Brexiteers are right to point out that the EU’s portion of the UK’s trade has already been gradually declining for the last 20 years; the question is how best to harness this. A No Deal outcome would be likely to accelerate this trend, and open up the UK to non-EU trade much more quickly.

However, a sharp change will not be an easy or painless transition for sectors highly integrated into EU supply chains. Geography still matters to many traders – particularly those involved in perishable or time-sensitive goods, such as fresh food.

Both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss are committed to pursuing new trade deals after Brexit. However, expectations of dozens of ‘quick wins’ in a No Deal scenario should be tempered. Some countries may adopt the “wait and see” strategy adopted by Canada and Japan – partly due to the ongoing lack of certainty over the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU, and partly because it is unclear that any deal negotiated by the UK would be ratified by this Parliament.

Just like the EU, potential trading partners have their own interests which will not always be aligned with those of the UK. The primary example is the US, which Truss has said she wants to deliver “as soon as possible.”

Yet there are a number of obstacles to a UK-US trade deal, which will take time to overcome – such as food standards (think chlorinated chicken), drug procurement, and digital services. There are also political obstacles to ratification on both sides. In the Commons, a deal with Trump’s US would be just as controversial as a deal with the EU, while the Democrat-controlled Congress cannot be relied upon either.

While trade deals have taken on an important political and symbolic value in the context of Brexit, their economic benefits are typically smaller and slower to materialise than many realise. As Fox found on the job, there are many ways to promote UK trade interests other than trade deals, such as exploiting soft power assets and prioritising services trade (where the UK is a world leader).

The trade debate in the UK is still beset by simplistic soundbites. While this might be expected after 40 years of outsourcing trade policy to Brussels, the UK needs to grapple with the realities of global trade quickly in order to make a success of Brexit.

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Brexit Britain’s Trumpian moment?

Boris Johnson’s adoption of a No-Deal exit as a viable policy option can only be described as Brexit Britain’s Trumpian moment, writes John Ryan (LSE).

US President Donald Trump told a crowd in Washington: ‘Boris is good. They call him Britain Trump.‘ German English-language service Deutsche Welle published an article with the title ‘Boris Johnson’s clowning glory‘. Seen as Donald Trump’s boastful mini-me by many with no electoral mandate from the British people for No Deal and with a record of incompetence, ineptitude and intellectual laziness – Boris Johnson has nevertheless just been elected by the Tory party membership to become the Conservative party‘s leader and then by default the UK’s prime minister.

In what can only be described as Brexit Britain’s Trumpian moment, Johnson showed his political opportunism by adopting the Brexit Party’s key policy of No Deal Brexit as the way to stem the rise of arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage and to prevent the terminal decline of the Conservative party. Johnson’s lack of a viable plan for government besides a No Deal Brexit raises the prospect of a repeat of his tenure as Mayor of London in which he achieved little in eight years and in which he wasted money with little in the way of tangible benefits for Londoners.

Many adversaries, as well as colleagues of Boris Johnson, feel that he is personally unfit to be Prime Minister. The Guardian recently ran a series of articles during the Conservative leadership election pointing out his political and personal deficiencies. They say that he is a habitual liar, a cheat, a cruel betrayer of the women in his life, a politician who connived in a bid for a court order to suppress mention of a daughter he fathered, a do-nothing mayor of London and the worst foreign secretary in living memory. He was described as a diagnosed narcissist whose entire political career has been constructed through the prism of personal opportunism. Johnson as foreign secretary contributed to a British national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian citizen being incarcerated in Iran after he wrongly stated she was teaching journalism in the country, a comment cited by Iran to undermine her case.

There are known to be several Conservative MPs who have deep reservations about serving under a prime minister who is prepared to leave the EU without a Brexit deal on 31 October. An early vote of no confidence would trigger a 14-day period during which someone else – including Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn – could try and form a government which wins the support of the Commons. If that cannot be achieved, then the UK would face a general election. But to prevent a No Deal Brexit, there would need to be a new prime minister in place who is prepared to go to the EU to ask for a further extension before the 31 October 2019 deadline is reached.

Holding an election out of his own volition would be dangerous for Johnson with the poor state of the economy, the weakened pound, businesses leaving or not investing in the UK, the sad state of health care, council cuts to old-age care, rising debt and corroded public finances, the lack of police on the streets, climate change, supporting Trump’s foreign policy adventures, and dealing with China, Iran, Israel, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The political fallout associated with the economic hit of a Johnson-induced No Deal Brexit should not be underestimated. We know that higher barriers to trade, investment and migration will damage UK productivity growth; and that British consumers will be forced to buy more expensive imports or lower quality British alternatives, hitting living standards. It will be a mix of the two, but that mix is hard to quantify. What is more, the Brexit referendum in 2016 coincided with robust global growth. With signs of a slowing global – and European – economy, the costs of Brexit would be more acute now. The immediate damage would be enormous, if only because of the uncertainty and the lack of preparation, both among governments and companies both in Britain and the EU.

Newly appointed members of the Boris Johnson cabinet do not inspire confidence. Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, now foreign secretary, was mocked for confessing he “hadn’t quite understood the full extent” of the UK’s dependence on the Dover-Calais crossing for trade. Former development secretary and staunch Brexiteer Priti Patel now home secretary made the outrageous suggestion that Britain should use the threat of food shortages to force Ireland to change its approach to Brexit. The tragedy of the Irish famine which caused the death of over a million Irish men, women and children was one of the most shameful episodes in British history.

Some people appear as stupid or ignorant because that is exactly what they are. Ignorant people can succeed against the odds if success depends on other, unrelated qualities. Boris Johnson is the populist’s populist and has been described as both the thinking man’s idiot and the idiot’s thinking man. For many inside and outside Britain, the Tory party seems to be governed by a self-involved clique which includes Boris Johnson that rewards group membership above competence and self-confidence above expertise.

Clearly, MPs damaged Johnson‘s hopes of forcing a No Deal Brexit through Parliament on 18 July 2019 when they voted by a large margin to prevent a future Johnson government from suspending it to prevent it from voting against No Deal. But that does not mean Parliament can legislate to stop No Deal without the government’s consent. There were some 47 Conservative MPs who defied the whip: 17, including the former digital minister Margot James, voted for the plan, while another 30 abstained, most notably Cabinet ministers at the time of the vote Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Rory Stewart and Greg Clark. Any plan by Boris Johnson to leave the EU without a deal would result in Parliament passing a vote of No Confidence in his government, with a high chance of success. That would almost certainly precipitate a General Election, in which a new mandate would be offered to ‘the people’, either to revoke Article 50, or to offer the nation a new referendum on Brexit.

Johnson wants to ensure there is no hard Irish border, even in a No Deal scenario, through so-called alternative arrangements – technological approaches by which customs and regulations checks would take place automatically, or away from the land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The consensus among experts in the UK and the EU is that such technology is several years away from being useable, and there is not the slightest chance of a system being in place for 31 October 2019. Analysts at JP Morgan investment bank said the two Prime Ministerial candidates’ quest for a Brexit withdrawal agreement without the “Irish backstop” was like hunting a unicorn. “A unicorn with a lick of paint is still a unicorn,” analysts Malcolm Barr and Allan Monks wrote in a note sent to clients.

Johnson has got a technical working majority of two, which could fall to one after a by-election in Brecon on 1 August 2019. Last Wednesday Chancellor Philip Hammond, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, Justice Secretary David Gauke and de facto deputy Prime Minister David Lidington all handed in their resignation after Theresa May’s final Prime Minister’s Questions and before May formally handed in her resignation to the Queen. A total of 17 ministers from Theresa May’s Government, including Penny Mordaunt, Liam Fox and Jeremy Hunt, were either sacked, resigned or retired. That is a  purge of unprecedented scale. Dominic Cummings, the former head of the Vote Leave campaign, was appointed Senior Adviser to Boris Johnson.  This is a now a radical right-wing Vote Leave Brexit government. Even before he stepped foot through the door of No.10, Johnson knew that others could drive the narrative of his premiership.

At Eton, notes James Wood in the London Review of Books, they were taught to impose themselves on the world with “effortless superiority”. But these people fall short too often. The trouble is they keep failing upwards – constantly given the benefit of the doubt, leaving them with the benefits and the rest of people of the UK with the consequences of leaders who are unable to run a modern society and economy with a detrimental effect for the less well-off citizens of Britain. On 22 July 2019,  an opinion piece in the New York Times gave this damming assessment of Boris Johnson:

“Boris Johnson, to whom lying comes as easily as breathing, is on the verge of becoming prime minister. He faces the most complex and intractable political crisis to affect Britain since 1945. That should be concerning enough. But given Britain’s political system — which relies for its maintenance on the character and disposition of the prime minister — it carries even graver importance. Mr. Johnson, whose laziness is proverbial and opportunism legendary, is a man well practiced in deceit, a pander willing to tickle the prejudices of his audience for easy gain. His personal life is incontinent, his public record inconsequential.”

On 24 July, the assessment in The Guardian editorial “Boris Johnson’s leadership: the years of a clown” was stark: “Burning bridges to Europe is an act of arson, not statesmanship. Leaving the EU without a deal threatens to wreck the UK economy, break up Britain and rekindle violence on the island of Ireland.” Prime Minister Johnson’s first soundbite outside Number 10 was “Forget the Backstop, the Buck Stops Here”. The first part of the phrase is wishful thinking, but the second part may come back to haunt him – especially with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party waiting for him to fail. There is no trust or enthusiasm for Prime Minister Johnson in the EU which will make any chance of a deal very difficult.

With the right-wing populist Boris Johnson taking the country’s premiership, Britain’s Trumpian moment has arrived. En route, Johnson has lulled the Tory party into Brexiteer unicorn illusions and raised the prospect of a No Deal Brexit. When reality hits, it may not only be a sore awakening for Boris Johnson and his government, but also for the United Kingdom.

This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of LSE Brexit, nor of the London School of Economics. Image © Flickr / BackBoris2012Campaign

Professor John Ryan is a Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS. He has been a researcher at CESifo, Munich, Germany, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin, Germany. John is working as a senior partner in consultancy as a Brexit adviser for EU, Gulf and Asian clients.

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Why a US-UK trade deal ought to mean us finally getting some sense from Brussels

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already made it clear he will urgently look for a trade deal with President Trump. From a purely political viewpoint, this clearly makes sense in a world where the EU is mortally afraid of what President Trump might do next to it. However, there is also an economic logic to it which is worth spelling out, both for those embarking on the US deal at this end and for those seeking an EU response to our offers of a trade deal.

What a US trade deal would do would be to open up our markets to US goods, both food and manufactures, in return for UK tariff-free access to US goods markets and easier access into US services markets, where we already operate fairly freely in practice. From the EU viewpoint it is the former that matters: US barrier-free supply of food and manufactures into the UK market would mean that UK prices would fall sharply in response to the more or less infinite (relative to the UK market) availability of supplies from efficient and large US suppliers at best world prices. Effectively UK home prices would fall to world levels, a drop of some 20%, this being the scale of EU tariff and non-tariff protection against world competition. From our trade viewpoint this would therefore operate like unilateral free trade, lowering consumer prices and forcing competition on our home suppliers, who would have to meet it by raising productivity. The gain to UK GDP and welfare of even half of this would, we calculate, be around 4%; double that if it all goes through. This makes a US trade deal highly desirable for us in its own terms.

Of course this deal will be fought tooth and nail by all the usual business and protectionist lobbies – the CBI etc. Ministers must be ready for the full litany of objections; they should be in no doubt that for this deal to go through, they must rebut the whole stable of these stale arguments, whether it is the preservation of jobs (read ’existing jobs’ for that – new jobs are constantly being created by our economy); the collapse of manufacturing (only if it cannot raise productivity, which it has done relentlessly for three decades); the disappearance of our farm industry (but it too can raise productivity and will be helped by our new farm support policies); the pollution of food standards (by higher-standard US food?); and so it will go on.

Assume our new government has the determination to get this through. What then happens to EU attitudes? Already no doubt ‘softened up’ by worries about losing the £39 billion promised in the Withdrawal Agreement, these attitudes are now transformed by the new economics of failing to do a trade deal, that’s what. Suppose now no trade deal so that tariffs go up both ways between the EU and ourselves. EU sales to us are bigger and on higher tariff items, so our tariff bill on these would be £13 billion a year. On our sales to the EU their tariff bill would be £5 billion a year. But more importantly, who ‘pays’ these tariffs, in the sense of being worse off to the tune of these amounts? Once a US trade deal is in place and UK prices are at world levels, the apparently surprising answer is that all these tariffs, both ways, are paid by EU traders.

Consider why. First, EU export traders, to sell in the UK market at these world prices, will have to match them; they cannot raise prices when the tariffs go on, or they risk selling nothing at all. So these EU exporters must absorb the tariffs. The UK Treasury will thus receive its £13 billion direct from EU exporters.

Second, EU importers of UK exports. UK exporters can sell their products at home now at world prices, so they will not take less for EU exports; hence EU importers will not be able to ‘pass back’ the EU-levied tariffs to UK exporters. Instead they will add them into EU prices. Will this reduce UK exports to the EU? No, because remember EU prices are above world prices by 20%, the effect of EU protection. So in effect EU importers can well afford to absorb the EU tariffs on UK exports (which average about 5%, much less than that overall 20% world protection inclusive of non-tariff barriers), and still be cheaper than other EU competition. So what all this means is that the £5 billion tariff revenue of the EU is simply taken from EU businesses.

So overall, a failure to do a trade deal will cost EU businesses £18 billion a year in lost profits. £5 billion of this will go to the EU in extra revenue, £13 billion to the UK Treasury. From the EU’s internal viewpoint, these are non-trivial costs to business; the fact that some of it is directly levied by the Commission will add to its unpopularity with business opinion, which is the biggest Brussels lobbying voice. Total gross profits in the EU27 are around €4,000 billion, of which some two thirds is capital depreciation, giving net profits of about €2,500 billion, so implying on a normal dividend payout ratio dividends of about €500 billion. So we are talking here of a significant hit to company dividends in the rest of the EU from a no trade-deal Brexit.

Up to now, the assumption in EU circles has been that no trade deal would be unpleasant in some parts of the EU but the worst effects, such as in Ireland, would be manageable, through some sort of compensation to this small economy. With the UK still a protected market with high prices, EU producers would not face tough competition and so could possibly pass on UK tariffs to UK consumers without too much loss of market share. Meanwhile UK exporters would absorb EU tariffs with their alternative market only being the limited home market or much lower-priced world exports.

This all changes, as we have seen, once a US-UK trade deal is signed. The EU trade deal arithmetic is transformed to a nasty corporate loss across the whole EU business sector.

There is more. When the UK signs the US trade deal, the direct effect on the prices the EU can sell at in the UK market will be a fall of 20%, even with no change in UK tariffs. Similarly our exporters to the EU will now sell to them at those 20% lower (now world) prices, assuming no EU tariffs. As we import some £100 billion a year more from the EU than we export, this 20% price fall will cost the EU £20 billion – even before any action on EU-UK tariffs. This will also come directly out of EU business dividends.

So when we sign a US trade deal, the EU will lose £20 billion at once, and a further £18 billion if there is no UK-EU trade deal so that mutual tariffs are levied – a total of £38 billion a year, nearly 8% of EU corporate dividends. This implies that the EU will be anxious to dissuade us from making a US trade deal by being more obliging in its negotiating approach over Brexit. Of course, in doing this they will risk annoying President Trump; nor is our new Government anyway likely to be dissuaded from such an important strategic deal.

But it all goes to show that the route to getting sense at last from Brussels lies through Washington and President Trump. It is good to see that Mr. Johnson is planning to take this route in short order.

The post Why a US-UK trade deal ought to mean us finally getting some sense from Brussels appeared first on BrexitCentral.

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