While the United States is the world’s largest economy, Britain’s trade with the EU accounts for a much greater percentage of its annual GDP. That’s why Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government made it a top priority to negotiate a deal that would prevent tariffs from being imposed on trade between the UK and the EU.
In an interview with BBC radio on Thursday, Blinken said any deal will take “some time” and that US President Joe Biden wants to make sure any trade agreement supports American workers and their families.
Blinken stated that the US’s new trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, might need time to study the discussions with Donald Trump’s previous administration before moving forward with the negotiations.
Trump had been a strong supporter of a trade agreement with the United Kingdom, which officially left the European Union’s economic system at the start of this year. Since the UK is no longer a member of the EU, it might seek its own trade agreements; previously, the EU negotiated trade deals on behalf of its members.
While the EU and the US may not have a substantive trade agreement, they do have a range of bilateral agreements to promote trade, such as those on transportation.
Non-tariff barriers, including such customs checks, hinder trade and boost operating costs in the absence of tariffs.
As part of the deal, the British government agreed to conduct customs checks on some items travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK to ensure that there is no border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, which did not happen when the UK appeared to be a member of the EU.
In his question and answer session, Blinken emphasized how important it was for the president, who seems to have Irish ancestors, to protect the progress made by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which provided aid to Northern Ireland.