UK’s Post-Brexit Plans Falter As Trade Pact With US, Mexico And Canada Considered

NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images

US president Joe Biden holds a bilateral meeting with UK prime minister Boris Johnson at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

Hopes of the UK striking a post-Brexit deal with Joe Biden’s White House are fading as Britain is understood to be considering whether to join a trade pact with the US, Mexico and Canada.

It came as Biden signalled the UK was some way off getting a trade alliance as he met Boris Johnson at the White House on Tuesday.

Asked if Britain was still “back of the queue” for a deal as threatened by Barack Obama in 2016, Biden said: “We’ll have to work that through.”

A comprehensive free trade agreement with the US was touted as one of the prizes of Brexit during the 2016 referendum.

New foreign secretary Liz Truss raised the stalled negotiations with US secretary of state Antony Blinken when they met in New York during the UN General Assembly on Monday.

Various media reported Truss questioning whether that position is tenable in the long term and has considered other routes to improving trading ties with the States.

But, after a return to New York for further talks relating to the UN General Assembly, she will head to Mexico City to open a new British embassy.

She was understood to be considering the possibility of the UK joining the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. 

A diplomatic source said: “There are a variety of different ways to do this. The question is whether the US administration is ready.

“The ball is in the US’s court. It takes two to tango.”

Johnson has expressed doubts that he will be able to get such a deal in place ahead of the next general election, saying Mr Biden has “a lot of fish to fry”.

Asked if he would get the deal by 2024, the prime minister told Sky News: “We will keep going with free trade deals around the world including in the United States.

“I have plenty of reason to be optimistic about that. But the Americans do negotiate very hard.”

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