It seems the Boris Johnson government is not letting any stone unturned while meeting its plan to negotiate a trade deal that would be bigger and more economically effective than the European Union deal that was discussed on 31st January 2020. The United States, which is already the largest trading partner of the United Kingdom had promised to offer the nation a deal which would make up for the losses it may have to incur by coming out of the Union. The negotiations which are to be conducted via video conferencing will see at least 100 negotiators from each side deliberating on modalities of tariffs and other regulatory structures of the deal over a period of two weeks. What is important to note here is that both countries are currently in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic and are counting losses in billions every passing day. The policymakers on both sides could very well be looking at this opportunity to bolster trade between the two countries so that some of the losses due to the pandemic may be recovered at the earliest. Both countries are currently profoundly affected by the pandemic, with the United States having the highest number of infected patients in the world and the United Kingdom not far behind with the fourth most impacted.

Trade negotiations between the two countries have been on the cards for quite some time now. Ever since the Boris Johnson government first took office, it had made promises to the British people that it will bring for the United Kingdom, a far more lucrative deal than the European Union deal which he and his party had termed as restrictive towards the United Kingdom achieving its full potential. London, since time immemorial, has been one of the most crucial trading destinations of the world have established trading contacts with almost geographies from the Americas to the far east. England in the past three centuries has had some trade relations with the rest of the world, which had not been made by other of its European counterparts during that period. So, when the United Kingdom became part of the European Union, Brussels was named the home of the European Union and its new power centre, it formed regulations that every country in the Union had to adhere to. Hence, when Brussels enacted regulations, it treated all member countries equally and often, those regulations were favourable to smaller countries than the larger ones. This the United Kingdom felt was withholding the growth of the country while on the other hand, it had to bear the cost of their financial misgovernance as was evident from the 2008 sovereign debt crisis that had plagued several European countries. European Union regulations had also tied the hands of the country in more ways than one, the United Kingdom which is in a strategic partnership with the United States of America across the Atlantic, on various fronts, was not able to enter into extensive trade negotiations with the country as it conflicted with its position in the European Union, which to an extent restricted its independent trade negotiating capabilities.

However, the decision of the United Kingdom to get itself out of the European Union brought with it several unintended consequences. For business relations from both sides that had been developed over the past forty-seven years would not come apart so easily and quickly without causing extensive damages. The tentative date when both sides would separate from each other, which is popularly known as Brexit, required extensive preparations on both sides in order to minimize business and economic disruptions that were certain to happen to an extent. Several rounds of negotiations took place between the two sides over a period of three years, yet no consensus could emerge, and the process continued to add uncertainty in the minds of people and businesses, who suffered greatly because of this. The average British citizen felt more harassed in the hands of their political leaders, as the saga continued, and the constant bickering of politicians from both sides made the business environment in the continent even murkier. Over that period of time many important economic indicators of the country started looking down, on the consumer confidence index side as well, the situation worsened over the period, and the United Kingdom became the worst performing economy among the G7 nations.

However, as the country starts extensive trade negotiations with the United States, it has not forgotten the European Union and the policymakers on both sides know well that the European Union and the United Kingdom disassociating entirely from each other following the Brexit event is absurd and would only spell doom for the entire region. The Britishers may not like the rules of engagement that the European Union economic block prescribes, but it will still have to find a way to keep itself engaged with all EU member countries so that the shared interests on both sides are protected. The deep-rooted cultural and economic engagements that have been built over centuries in this region has been responsible for much of its economic and technological prowess. Restrictions of any kind will only make a country more limited and will hurt its financial and strategic interests in the long run. Certainly, the United Kingdom has every right to explore economic possibilities in the rest of the world and will also benefit immensely by expanding its economic and cultural footprint in other parts of the world, but not at the cost of its European neighbours.

Only a fortnight ago British negotiators engaged with their European Union counterparts, had a discussion regarding the modalities of the Brexit deal which intends to restore many of the trading advantages enjoyed by on both sides that were present while being a part of the European Union. This deal in a way is a deal that the European Union is explicitly entering into with the United Kingdom that in many ways tries to restore the advantages of a single trading block while releasing the United Kingdom of its many restrictions and allowing it to peruse an independent economic policy. At the outset negotiation on both sides seems to be a highly profitable proposition for the United Kingdom, but it must negotiate very carefully on both fronts if it wants to reap its full benefits.

 

 


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