What is a US-UK trade deal likely to look like after Brexit?


When the United Kingdom made the decision to leave the European Union, it was seen as a way to take back control’ – especially if you listened to the bluster that came from the populist right’s approach to the referendum. And while there were ample boasts about money being put into the National Health Service and various other claims, precious few have taken place. One major talking point during the whole process, though, involved the future relationship of Britain and America. What does that look like now?

Well, for one, the White House has changed hands since the vote took place in 2016 – as has the UK Government. However, while David Cameron and then Theresa May have been seen off by an irate public, Boris Johnson remains in position. Johnson is still a member of the Conservatives, though, so the same party rules in the UK. In the US, though, Joe Biden has just seen off Donald Trump after a single term of chaos and confusion. What does that mean for the future of a UK-US trade deal?

For one, Biden seems keener to have diplomacy that benefits both sides. The Democrat has made a clear approach of being more cordial and open-minded than the Republican predecessor. Biden, though, was also suitably more negative about the prospects of Brexit when the vote took place in 2016; is he likely to give Britain as favorable terms as Trump would have been given his stance on Brexit? It’s hard to say.

What we do know, though, is that the UK made a huge deal of being able to sign trade deals of its own once it left the EU. Now that it can, what are the deals actually going to look like?

Will a UK-US trade deal happen in 2021?

It looks unlikely at the moment. Despite claiming they would be priority for the world to do business with, the COVID-19 crisis has more or less shut down any real talk of trade deals taking place anywhere in the world. Economies are crippled and nations are shut down; at the moment, any kind of trade would deal really struggle to live up to the bluster and the promise that was made during exit talks.

However, it is likely that a trade deal will take place after 2021. Once COVID becomes a topic in the background, we will likely return to hearing about things like trade deals and agreements. Britain has already ‘benefitted’ in one way, in that it was able to secure its own vaccination plans for the populace to combat COVID-19. With the EU still trying to find agreements for everyone, Britain can point to the first positive to come from a European Union exit.

That being said, the real challenges start when the global economy opens back up and Britain has to start making deals that, for now, it can get away with not progressing. That, though, will not last forever.