Gérard Araud, who retired from a 37-year diplomatic career on Friday that included some of the top jobs in French diplomacy, said that there was no representation by the British in Washington as they become increasingly insular and occupied with Brexit. He had also served as the country's envoy to Israel and the UN. The outgoing ambassador criticised the United States' president Donald Trump and described his style of governance as "unpredictable".
In a recent farewell interview, he remarked that the UK has "vanished" from Washington as the British government has become obsessed with Brexit. He acknowledged that the French's influence on US foreign policy has been growing, at the expense of British, which has made the outspoken 66-year-old quite happy. He further said that the British ambassador accepted this and told him that the Americans discuss the French even during meetings between British and American military.
He warned the UK against expecting any special treatment from the American administration in post-Brexit trade talks and said Britain would struggle to strike a favourable trade deal with the US after Brexit. He predicted that the administration would force London to accept US imports on US terms and accept lower standards, giving as an example of food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He cautioned that the current Trump administration does not think in terms of multilateral cooperation and they are not particularly affectionate towards the Europeans. Their treatment towards the Europeans and the Chinese is largely similar. He warned that the British would have to face severe casualties when they come to the Americans for a free-trade agreement.
It must be noted that Donald Trump had supported the Brexit in 2016 but had criticised Theresa May's deal and had warned the deal she reached with the EU could jeopardize Britain's ability to strike a trade pact with the U.S. The US is also embroiled in a trade dispute with China and has imposed steep tariffs in its import. Gérard Araud had commented that the French had been complaining about Chinese policies on trade and intellectual property but lamented nothing had been done.
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, warned that if peace in Northern Ireland if threatened due to Britain's exit from the European Union, the Congress would block any new trade deal with the United Kingdom and the US will not commit to any trade deal with the country. Democratic Congressman Richard Neal also said that it would be difficult for America to enter into a trade agreement with the European Union if the UK does anything that dampens or softens the Good Friday Agreement. The European Union had said that the bloc would like to reach a trade deal with the US before the end of the current year. The issue of the border in Ireland has been a key sticking point in the Brexit negotiations as any deal would involve serious trade-offs and both sides agree that any final agreement must include keeping the border open to protect the 1998 accord.
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