- Boris Johnson criticises “protectionists” in the Trump administration for hurting global free trade.
- The UK prime minister said Washington as well as the EU and China had “choked” global growth.
- Johnson said he could not wait to “get going” in negotiating a free trade deal with the US.
- However, he listed British products which were suffering as a result of US policies.
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Boris Johnson says decisions made by the Donald Trump administration have “choked” global free trade, and has called on the United States to do away with “punitive” barriers to British products.
The prime minister on Monday layed out his vision for the UK’s trade after leaving the European Union in a speech in London, saying Britain will be “re-emerging after decades of hiberation as a campaigner for global free trade.”
However, while Johnson said he could not wait “to get going with our friends in America” and negotiate a free trade deal with the US, he criticised the Trump administration for its protectionist approach to free trade.
“I am here to warn you today that this beneficial magic is fading. Free trade is being choked, and that is no fault of the people, that is no fault of individual consumers,” the UK prime minister said in a speech.
He said the US as well as China and the EU were thwarting the growth of the world economy.
“I’m afraid it is the politicians who are failing to lead, the mercantilists are everywhere, the protectionists are gaining ground. From Brussels to China to Washington, tariffs are being waved around like cudgels.”
“There is an ever-growing proliferation of non-tariff barriers, and the resulting tensions are letting the air out of the tyres of the world economy,” he said.
Johnson listed whiskey, beef, and Scottish haggis as British products which are suffering as a result of US barriers, and ought to be given more preferential access to US markets in a new free trade deal.
“It is high time I think we all agree that they cut their punitive tariffs on Scotch whisky,” the prime minister said.
He added: “It is an incredible fact that we still sell not one hamburger’s worth of beef to the US, not one kebab’s worth of lamb.
“And as I speak the people of the US are still surviving without an ounce of Scottish haggis which they continue to ban Mr Ambassador.”
Britain finally left the EU on Friday evening, three-and-a-half-years after the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The country has entered an 11-month transition period – or “implementation period” – during which it will continue to follow all EU rules, laws, and regulations. This arrangement will come to an end in January 2021.
Johnson’s UK government will in the meantime try to secure free trade agreements with the EU and other countries like the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, as soon as possible.
Johnson’s government is set to publish its negotiating objectives for trade talks with the EU, US and other countries in the coming weeks.
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