Why Liz Truss chose to concede a post-Brexit US trade deal is years away
Liz Truss has admitted a trade deal with the US could be years away, with negotiation not even taking place.
The Prime Minister admitted there was no expectation of talks starting in the "short to medium term", despite the UK Government previously promising one by the end of 2022.
None of this should come as a surprise, with former US president Barack Obama having previously said Brexit would leave the UK at the back of the queue for a deal.
The US is Britain's biggest trading partner and accounts for £1 in every £6 of UK trade. A deal was promised throughout the referendum campaign and long after it.
But as with so much of Brexit, the rhetoric has failed to match the reality, with this particular pledge essentially over the moment Joe Biden won the election.
Former US president Donald Trump insisted in 2017 the UK was "at the front of the queue", but Mr Biden’s administration has now told both Boris Johnson and now Ms Truss the US has other priorities, with jobs for Americans coming first.
Negotiations starting up again has never been on the agenda, not least with the ongoing spat over the Northern Ireland protocol.
The White House press secretary has said there is "no formal linkage" between the two issues, but also warned efforts to undo the protocol would "not create a conducive environment, and that's basically where we are with the dialogue".
Mr Johnson was forced to admit in 2021 the US has "a lot of fish to fry" and that a trade deal might not be secured by the 2024 general election, but even that target now appears fanciful.
In saying the deal is not happening now, Ms Truss has tried to regain the upper hand in negotiations which only one side is pushing for.
She can imply it was the UK’s choice, and any action on the NI protocol won’t be used against her in trade deal negotiations.
Ultimately it leaves the benefits of Brexit very much a work-in-progress, a financial boon to boost Britain at an unknown time in the future.
Putting “there might be a deal eventually and the Americans might be bluffing” would have looked considerably less impressive on the side of a bus.
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