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Joe Biden: Jimmy Carter ‘not attending inauguration’ says expert
As Democrat Joe Biden moves into the White House, it is clear that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will want to cement the special relationship with the former Vice President over the next four years. Mr Johnson has said his congratulatory phone call with Mr Biden after the election went well and that the President-elect was a “big believer” in the trans-Atlantic trade alliance and the special relationship. However, whether Britain and the US will be able to strike a trade agreement is a completely different question.
In September, Mr Biden wrote on Twitter: “Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the [Good Friday] Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”
It was the first in a series of discouraging comments linking potential effects of Brexit to a future trade deal.
Last month, Mr Biden delivered a further blow, suggesting he would concentrate on building up industries at home.
He said: “I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first.
“I’m not going to enter any new trade agreement with anybody until we have made major investments here at home and in our workers.”
Joe Biden’s verdict on Britain’s EU membership exposed amid US-UK tensions
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
But Mr Biden‘s disdain for Brexit goes way further back – at a time when he was serving in an administration that put itself squarely behind David Cameron’s Remain campaign, notably clashing with Mr Johnson in the process.
In February 2013, Mr Biden said Britain’s EU membership was an important contribution to world peace, prosperity and security.
He made the remarks after meetings with French and German leaders and ahead of talks with former Prime Minister David Cameron.
He told The Times: “We value our essential relationship with the UK, as well as our relationship with the EU, which makes critical contributions to peace, prosperity, and security in Europe and around the world.
“We believe the United Kingdom is stronger as a result of its membership.
President-elect Joe Biden
Former US President Barack Obama and former Prime Minister David Cameron
“And we believe the EU is stronger with the UK’s involvement.
“That’s our view.”
Moreover, asked about Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc at a London event in 2018, Mr Biden said he would have voted against it if he were a British MP.
He argued that US interests are diminished now that Britain is not an integral part of Europe and bringing to bear influence well beyond the economy, on the European attitudes towards a whole range of subjects.
He said: “It seems to me that there is a growing awareness in Europe as a whole and around the world that Britain played a role in Europe over the last 30 years that went well beyond the notion of open borders, trade and all these other things – being able to influence attitudes about things that have nothing to do with the elements of the EU state.”
On the ties between the US and UK, he added: “There is a special relationship, we have been locked cheek and jowl on almost every important issue that exists, and so without England being totally integrated in the EU to the extent that it is distanced from that diminishes our ability to have influence on events on the continent.
“I do believe very strongly that the United States’ ability to play a major role in the security of the West and the prosperity of the transatlantic partnership rests in part on Great Britain’s influence in Europe.”
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Alan Winters, director of the Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex, claimed that the only way Britain and the US can enter a trade partnership together is if they both join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The CPTPP is a high-quality free trade agreement which binds together Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, Chile and Brunei.
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Professor Alan Winters
UK trade deals
It covers nearly 14 percent of the global economy and it was the centrepiece of President Barack Obama’s strategic pivot to Asia.
Before President Trump withdrew the US in 2017 – on his third day in office – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was set to become the world’s largest free trade deal, covering 40 percent of the global economy.
Mr Trump suggested in early 2018 that he would be willing to reenter TPP discussions under certain conditions, but he quickly backtracked.
Professor Winters said: “The CPTPP is the best chance we have got to find an agreement with the US quickly.
“It obviously depends on the Americans deciding whether they want to go back into the CPTPP but Biden seems well disposed to.
“The question is ‘is he willing to pick it up as it were with almost no changes?’
“Because if he doesn’t, the other members might be rather resistant.”
Prof Winters added: “But it is definitely the only chance we have got.
“If Biden accepts it as it is, sure as anything we will be on the phone a second after saying ‘us, too’.”