US trade deal prospects ‘very low’ admits Badenoch as Biden blocks historic deal

Kemi Badenoch tells Laura Kuenssberg to stop interrupting her

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch has admitted the chances of the UK striking a free trade deal with the USA in the near future are “very low” with Joe Biden in the White House.

And Lord Daniel Moylan, a former adviser to ex-Prime Minister Joe Biden, has warned “Bidenomics” all but precludes any such agreement for as long as he is in the White House.

Ms Badenoch was speaking after signing the accession protocol to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in New Zealand on Sunday.

The agreement takes British businesses a step closer to being able to sell to a market of 500 million people with fewer barriers.

However, speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge earlier today, she suggested the change of administration from Donald Trump to Joe Biden following the 2020 US election was the reason why no progress had been made on a UK/US deal.

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She explained: “The US is not carrying out any free trade agreements with any countries, so I would say very low.

“It all depends on the administration that’s there – different presidents have different priorities. Lots of countries have been looking to have a free trade agreement with the US, including us, but for now they’ve said that’s not something they want to do and we need to respect that.

“Instead we’re having other types of trading interactions and trading deals with them.”

Lord Moylan, who served as chief airport adviser to Mr Johnson when he was Mayor of London, told “It’s clear that “Bidenomics” favours protectionism with a view to supporting the US industrial base.

“It has no interest in free trade with anyone really.”

He also poured cold water on suggestions that the situation would change should former leader Donald Trump defeat Mr Biden in next year’s US Presidential election.

He explained: “They got this approach from Trump, so there won’t be much change if he replaces Uncle Joe.”

As for Ms Badenoch, he said: “I think she’s just recognising this when she says the USA isn’t doing trade deals at the moment.

“But of course things can always change – one day.

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“It depends on the views of the President. We have no idea if and when we’ll see another globalist President.”

Tory MPs regard an FTA with the US as the “greatest prize of all” and the ability to strike new trade deals, particularly with the US, was a key promise of the Brexit campaign.

Britain is the first new member and first European nation to join the CPTPP – comprising Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – since its formation in 2018.

It represents Britain’s biggest trade deal since leaving the EU, cutting tariffs for UK exporters to a group of nations which – with UK accession – will have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of £12 trillion, accounting for 15 percent of global GDP, according to officials.

The signing is the formal confirmation of the agreement for the UK’s membership, which was reached in March after two years of negotiations.

Britain and the other 11 CPTPP members will now begin work to ratify the deal, which in the UK will involve parliamentary scrutiny and legislation to bring it into force.

Officials estimate it will come into force in the second half of 2024, at which point the UK becomes a voting member of the bloc and businesses can benefit from it.

While Britain already has trade agreements with the CPTPP members apart from Malaysia and Brunei, officials said it will deepen existing arrangements, with 99 percent of current UK goods exports to the bloc eligible for zero tariffs.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak was less convinced, as he said: “This Pacific trade pact is bad for workers at home and abroad.

“Once again, Conservative ministers have turned a blind eye to egregious human and workers’ rights abuses in their pursuit of trade deals.”

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