This is an interesting article from Forbes. If this is the way of thinking of Trump’s Trade Representative then it bodes badly for the UK government hoping to negotiate a thumping FTA with the USA which will replace the EU (not a hope in hell). Lighthizer’s arguments for FTAs only within groups of local, boundaried, countries highlights one of the strengths of the EU. It is a massive free-trade area with consistent, open, rules of engagement and with relatively limited transport. The USA has NAFTA so, it seems, their Trade Chief thinks that’s enough, everywhere else should be on WTO MFN terms. Obviously, initially this removes barriers for the USA in competing with the EU in countries where they have agreed FTAs. These include many former European colonies and also some of the world’s leading economies such as Japan. The USA is losing ground to the EU due to Europe’s keenness to enter into bilateral agreements around the world.
Trump has always played an America First hand, so I guess he sees challenges in negotiating FTAs around the world as these require compromise and would open him up to accusations of ‘selling out’ one industry or another in order to gain advantage elsewhere. He needs to feel loved across the board so removing bilaterail agreements means, as the largest economy, the USA regains some of it’s former power.
This is yet another sign that Trumpist USA is not a good friend for Brexit Britain and another sign of how Brexit is a made decision which will leave us economically and diplomatically poorer, worsen our security position and not, actually, hand back any real benefits.
Well done Brexiteers, another sign of your ability to completely misread the way the future was shaping up.