We’ll need to change the phrase apparently, out of the mouths of babes, sucklings and US Presidents. For President Trump has just told us all what is blindingly obvious, Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal will limit the possibilities for a UK/US trade deal. Well, yes, of course it will, how could anyone be so stupid as to think it wouldn’t?
Donald Trump has suggested Theresa May’s Brexit agreement could threaten a US-UK trade deal. The US president told reporters the withdrawal agreement “sounds like a great deal for the EU” and meant the UK might not be able to trade with the US. No 10 insisted it is “very clear” the UK would be able to sign trade deals with countries around the world.
Leaving the European Union should indeed mean that we’ll be able to sign trade deals, something which is currently an EU sole competence in that unlovely jargon. But any form of remaining in the customs union, Single Market or even regulatory compliance will limit what any trade deal can cover. Given that the Maybot’s deal does leave us in some manner of alignment with the EU’s rules and rulings then we will indeed be limited as to the contents of any US/UK trade deal.
Do note that this isn’t a matter of opinion, this is just simple reality. Opinion comes into play when we consider whether this is a good idea or not. I think it’s a terrible idea myself but that is as with fundaments, everyone’s got an opinion. Maybe we should and maybe we shouldn’t have cheap and unethically produced bacon, perhaps chlorine washed chicken should never pile up on our shores, perhaps it should. But there’s absolutely no doubt at all that the closer we clutch to Nanny Brussels’ skirts the more limited we are in the content of any trade deal with any other part of the world.