Before meeting Biden, Truss sends a signal

US President Biden                     Truss        

On the 20th local time, after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister Truss flew to New York, the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly. This is her "first show" on the international stage after taking office.


  In New York, Truss' "highlight" is to meet with US President Biden. The United States announced that Biden and Truss will hold talks on the 21st, and the two sides will discuss economic relations between the two countries and the issue of Northern Ireland.

  Regarding the long-delayed U.K.-U.S. free trade talks, Truss told reporters on the plane to the U.S. that there is currently no negotiation with the U.S., and he "does not expect to start negotiations in the short to medium term."


  The Governor of Chang'an Avenue (WeChat ID: Capitalnews) noted that, this is the first time the British government has admitted that there may be no chance of reaching a free trade agreement with the United States in the next few years.


  A hopeless free trade deal


  In 2019, when the United Kingdom was leaving the European Union, then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed great hopes on the United States for future trade partnerships. The U.S. has also pledged to sign a free trade agreement with the U.K. to help the U.K. mitigate the economic impact of Brexit . At that time, Truss served as the British international trade secretary, responsible for negotiating with the United States, and traveled many times.


  According to the original plan of the United Kingdom, before the final "divorce" with the EU on January 1, 2021, it can reach trade agreements with the three major economies of the United States, China and the European Union. declaration to the European Union that "Brexit has a lot of benefits. "symbol of.


  However, people's calculations are not as good as heaven's calculations. A sudden epidemic, coupled with the emergence of many problems in the "Northern Ireland Protocol", agriculture and trade in services, made the UK's expectations come to nothing in the US.


  The Northern Ireland region is the only part of the UK that borders an EU member state (Ireland), and Brexit has brought new customs checks on Northern Irish trade, threatening to intensify tensions between the different factions.


  To this end, the "Northern Ireland Protocol" proposes that Northern Ireland will continue to remain in the EU's customs union, and the border inspection of British products entering the EU will be changed between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is equivalent to setting up a border in the UK. customs border.


  In May of this year, the UK demanded to renegotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol, otherwise it would tear up the relevant content of the "Brexit" agreement. The move shocked Washington and brought the U.K.-U.S. free trade talks to an impasse.


  In terms of agriculture, the United States has been seeking to completely remove or lower the barriers faced by American agricultural products. For the United Kingdom, opening up the agricultural product market means accepting American standards, which may affect the safety and quality of products in the British market.


  In the field of service trade, the United States wants the United Kingdom to liberalize financial services and adopt the United States' financial regulatory rules, which will affect the UK's influence in the global financial market. The U.S. also wants the U.K. to liberalize the NHS market, allowing U.S. companies to enter the U.K. drug market, which would increase the cost of U.K. medicines…


  Therefore, before going to the United States, Truss had to play down the expectations of the British "Brexit" faction, admitting that the agreement was beyond their ability, worrying that the promises were given, but they could not start negotiations in the end, which would serve as a basis for her new government. cause more damage.


  Moreover, Truss admits that the UK-US free trade agreement is hopeless in the medium and long term, and it also implies that she intends to continue to promote the tearing up of the protocol.

It stands to reason that the trade negotiations between the United Kingdom and the United States and the Northern Ireland Protocol between the United Kingdom and the European Union are two different things, but the protocol has become a point of departure for the United States to "handle" the British government.


  As soon as Truss took office, the United States "warned" her twice.


  In Biden's call with Truss, Biden discussed with him "the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol." The "Financial Times" said that this is Biden's warning against Truss not to unilaterally tear up the agreement, suggesting that it may damage the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.


  Immediately after, the White House also warned the new British government. White House press secretary Jean-Pierre said any withdrawal of the Northern Ireland Protocol could hurt the chances of a bilateral trade deal between the UK and the US.


  Biden has personal reasons for opposing the British government's revocation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. As early as during the 2020 election, Biden, who is of Irish descent, stated that he would not agree to the US-UK trade agreement if the UK's "Brexit" undermined the "Belfast Agreement" that brought peace to Northern Ireland. .


  At the same time, due to geopolitical considerations, the United States does not want the United Kingdom to make too much trouble with the European Union. In addition, it is not the first time that the United States has done something to create divisions. "Northern Ireland independence" has always been the heart of the United Kingdom. It hits the pain points of its allies directly, and the United States has never been soft-hearted.


  The Governor of Chang'an Avenue (WeChat ID: Capitalnews) noted that, more importantly, the United States is the UK's largest trading partner, and for every 6 pounds of British trade revenue, 1 pound comes from the United States. And the UK doesn't even make the list of America's top three trading partners. When it comes to trade, it's the UK that needs more than the US.


  Coupled with the absence of the "protection" of the EU-related free trade agreement, the United Kingdom is already at a disadvantage in the negotiations. In American style, how can it be signed without major concessions from Britain.


  Previously, British media believed that if Truss was elected prime minister, he would launch a "charm offensive" against Biden, so that Biden would worry less about the protocol issue. But at present, it seems that Biden has not yet grasped the charm of Truss. The Northern Ireland Protocol has become the "Sword of Damocles" hanging over the UK-US trade deal.


"Special Relationship" No Longer Special


  Before "Brexit", the United Kingdom believed that its future lay outside the EU and in the "special relationship" between the United Kingdom and the United States. The stalled UK-US trade negotiations after "Brexit" may become a new example of the "special relationship" between the UK and the US is no longer "special".


  The "special relationship" between Britain and the United States has been the principle policy of British foreign policy since World War II. The concept has been the basis of the U.S.-British alliance since the 1940s, when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill proposed it in speeches.


  In September last year, Truss, who just took office as foreign secretary, questioned the "special relationship" between the United Kingdom and the United States during their first meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken.


  The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter, said Truss said she had seen few concrete examples of what was so special about the relationship between the U.K. and the U.S., compared to the U.S. steel tariff dispute with Canada, Japan and Canada. Trade relations with Mexico are significantly better.


  According to the report, Truss' attitude at that time was more like asking the United States: "What have you done for me recently?"

 Once, in Johnson's view, the UK-US free trade agreement is the US's "help in the snow" for the UK. It will help the UK to rebuild its international status, and it will also become his own excellent political achievement. But for the United States, this is just the "icing on the cake", and whether to advance depends on its own interests.


  Truss has made her position on the Northern Ireland Protocol very clear, with major disagreements with Biden.


  When Truss took office, it was analyzed that the relationship between her and Biden had become tense because of Northern Ireland. In key areas involving British national interests, Truss will not be afraid to fight with US President Biden, who may Take a tougher stance diplomatically.


  For the United States, the status of the United Kingdom is declining day by day, and the European Union obviously has a greater right to speak than the United Kingdom in a series of international and regional issues.


  Charles Kupkan, the former senior director of European affairs at the US National Security Council, believes that US government leaders will still be in touch with the UK on some important issues, but when the US wants to reach certain agreements, "the UK will be ranked higher. A low position... because of Brexit, the UK has said goodbye to the negotiating table."

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