Data chart: Westminster Palace at dawn on the first day of official & lt; brexit & gt; in London, UK, February 1, 2020. (photo source: Associated Press)
British Prime Minister Johnson made a phone call with new US President Biden on January 23, becoming the first European leader to make a phone call after Biden took office. According to the statement issued by the British Prime Minister’s office and the White House, Johnson and Biden discussed COVID-19, the United States’ withdrawal from the WHO and the continued deepening of bilateral relations. However, on the issue of the free trade agreement between the United States and the United States, which has attracted much attention from the outside world, the outside world has clearly felt the “temperature difference” between the United States and the United States on this issue;.
According to the report of Peng Bo, in the statement of the British side, it was mentioned in particular that “a potential free trade agreement between the United States and the United States will bring benefits to the two countries”. However, it was not mentioned in the statement of the US side. Although British officials stressed that the two sides are still conducting technical consultations, the United States and Britain are obviously not in the same pace on this key economic and trade agreement after brexit. Politico, an American political news website, believes that this shows that the long-standing “special relationship” between Britain and the United States has changed because of “brexit”.
The “temperature difference” in the FTA between the UK and the US reflects the different focus of work of the two governments. Since the trade between Britain and the United States is basically equal, from the perspective of trade balance, it seems impossible for the two countries to unlock the potential wealth space through the new trade agreement, so this agreement is more like a political document than an economic document;. For the Johnson administration, the FTA is one of the top priorities after brexit. In Johnson’s view, the agreement is one of the key projects for him to rebuild Britain’s global relations and international status. At the same time, it is also his excellent achievement in showing the British people that Britain has regained control of its trade policy-making power.
But for the Biden administration, which has just taken charge of the White House, facing the raging COVID-19, the deeply torn American society and the highly antagonistic political environment, the new host of the White House will be greatly influenced by domestic affairs, and I am afraid I will not be able to take care of the free trade negotiations between Britain and America in a short time. White House press secretary Jane & middot; pusaki said at a news conference on January 22 that the White House is now more concerned about the prevention and control of the epidemic and pushing Congress to promote the $1.9 trillion epidemic relief plan, and there is no timetable for reaching a new trade agreement. Politico, the US political news website, asserted in a report at the end of 2020 that it is almost impossible for the UK and the us to reach a free trade agreement in 2021. The report quoted Lewis & middot; Lukens, who served as US Deputy Ambassador to the UK during the Obama and trump administrations, as saying, “the best situation we can see now is to reach an agreement in 2022.”;.
The & lt; temperature difference & gt; between the UK and the US in the FTA is also closely related to the status difference between the UK and the US in their respective trade territory. The bilateral economic and trade relations between Britain and the United States do not correspond in their respective trade relations. By country, the United States is Britain’s largest trading partner, and its trade with the United States accounts for about 15% of Britain’s total trade. By contrast, the UK is not even on the top three trading partners list of the US. According to the US National Bureau of statistics, the UK is the fifth largest commodity exporter and the eighth largest import supplier of the US in 2019. Obviously, from an economic point of view, the United Kingdom, which has lost the protection of the relevant free trade agreements of the European Union after brexit, is more motivated to sign free trade agreements with other countries. However, for the United States, reaching a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom is more like adding flowers to the brocade, which lacks natural motivation.
The “temperature difference” between Britain and the United States in the FTA reflects the relative decline of Britain’s position in the US foreign policy network. Although Johnson is the first European leader President Biden has called, Democrats are still using the “fraternal relationship” described in Churchill’s time to regard Britain as “our forever ally”, but there is no doubt that in the “post brexit era”; London will become less important to Washington than Brussels, Paris and Berlin. In dealing with climate change, WTO reform, Iran nuclear issue and a series of international and regional issues, the EU is more important than the UK. Charles Kupchan, a former senior official of the National Security Council on European affairs in the Clinton and Obama administrations, believes that U.S. government leaders will still contact London on some important issues, but when the United States wants to reach some agreements with London, & lt; London will be in a lower position & gt;, and & lt; Britain has left Europe because & lt; brexit & gt; Farewell to the negotiation table;.
The FTA negotiation situation may be another example of the “special friendship” between Britain and the United States.