UK concerned a Biden presidency could harm hopes of quick trade deal with the US

Mon 26 Oct 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News


Concerns are growing in Downing Street that the possibility of a Joe Biden victory in the President election will harm the UK’s chances of securing a quick trade deal with the US.

The UK administration has so far been unable to secure a meeting with anyone from the Democrat candidate’s team in the runup to the vote, according to the FT.  

Race to ratify

The UK had hoped to secure a deal before April 2021 as a US law allowing for the quicker-than-usual ratification of trade agreements negotiated by the White House is due to expire next July.

Despite negotiations moving rapidly there has been insufficient progress on agriculture, healthcare, public procurement and digital commerce.

EU deal needed first

Former deputy US trade representative Barbara Weisel told the Telegraph that a deal will likely be delayed by a Democrat victory as the establishing of a new administration will itself take time.

Weisel also claimed that a trade deal could not be secured unless the UK secures a deal with the EU first.

Internal Market Bill

Advisors to Biden recently claimed that the US would not want to pursue a deal with the UK if it went ahead with controversial plans to breach the Northern Ireland Protocol set out in the Withdrawal Agreement last year.

Biden’s team said this could undermine the Good Friday Agreement to which the US is a guarantor.

Wait and see

Former UK ambassador to the US Ivan Rogers also told the Guardian that Johnson will wait for the outcome of the election to decide either way on finalising the deal with the EU.

Rogers said that European ministers and officials believe Johnson is more likely to opt for no-deal if Trump triumphed next week.

If Trump wins, he may think history is “going his way”, Rogers said.