He may have been in office mere days, but President Trump’s presence in the White House has already sent seismic shockwaves across the global socioeconomic landscape, and with Britain on the verge of Brexit, US relations have taken on a new importance.
The meeting scheduled for later this week should therefore come as little surprise, with Prime Minister Theresa May expected to use the opportunity to discuss a new trade deal between the two nations; one which will capitalise on their historic ‘special relationship’.
Experts suggest that this new agreement could herald great things for Britain, with the potential for a reduction or even removal of tariffs on goods travelling between the UK and America.
With Brexit throwing existing EU deals into complete uncertainty, this could represent a huge shift in focus within the retail sector. As expert Stuart Higgins explains: “Retailers will always seek the lowest product cost for a given quality and will change product sourcing regimes accordingly.
“If US manufacturers can demonstrate innovation… in addition to potential reductions in the duty tariffs associated with free trade, then this may be sufficient for some UK retailers to re-assess their current sourcing plans and to start to consider US alternatives.”
The agreement could alter not only tariffs, but could also deal with more ancillary issues such as the movement of people. Depending upon the terms negotiated, this could potentially make it much easier for small British businesses to set up in America.
As US attorney Malcolm Mason suggests: “One would expect with a trade deal like this that the issue of how you get your people over there and set up the business has to be taken into account.
“I would be staggered if the trade agreement does not loosen up the ability for US companies to send their people over here, and similarly the ability for UK companies to send their people over there.”
This could go a long way towards resolving some of the issues opened up by Brexit, such as the potential death of foreign skilled and unskilled labour that might be lost when Britain exits the European Union.
But would such an agreement be enough to compensate for what could be at stake when Brexit finally comes into play? Mr. Mason doesn’t think so: “What we’re talking about in terms of relaxing the immigration laws has got to be at the management level… they’re not talking about a US/UK single market; it’s a trade agreement.”
Yet even this might prove invaluable in the months and years to come. It may feel like climbing into bed with the Devil, but if Prime Minister May can play her part well, Britain will still have at least one strong friend to fall back on when it finds itself most in need of economic allies.