Liam Fox is well known for his optimism when it comes to Brexit. The International Trade Secretary has even been accused by his critics of wishful thinking over what Britain will look like outside of the EU. And so it was that as Fox headed to Washington this week to lay the groundwork for UK/US trade talks, there were murmurs that rather than preparing the ground for a free trade deal, these talks would be about nothing more than ensuring ‘continuity’ once Britain has left the EU.
Wrong – at least one Yank shares his optimism. President Trump has taken to social media to talk up the ‘big and exciting’ ‘major trade deal’ that could be struck between the UK and US:
Working on major Trade Deal with the United Kingdom. Could be very big & exciting. JOBS! The E.U. is very protectionist with the U.S. STOP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
Of course, one could argue that it’s more effective to negotiate a trade deal behind closed doors rather than over social media. However, what Trump’s tweet shows is that as far as the President of the United States is concerned, these talks are about more than continuity – they are about striking a new type of beneficial relationship between the UK and US. What ought to help Britain in these negotiations is that none of the country’s major exports are seen to threaten or undercut American jobs.
As yesterday’s row over chlorinated chicken showed, the trade negotiations will be a challenge when it comes to pleasing all sides. However, the Remain argument that big countries like America would not want a deal with us and that Britain would find itself at the back of the queue, looks weaker by the day.