LONDON – England – Soon to be ex-president, Barack Obama has claimed the UK could take up to 10 years to negotiate a trade deal with the US if it leaves the EU, yet the US has previously concluded free trade agreements in under two years, and is only conducting one other trade agreement at the moment.
As the fifth largest economy in the world, and a major export market for the USA, the United Kingdom is well placed to secure a swift deal too.
Commenting, Chris Grayling MP said:
“This is a case of political positioning trumping reality and is a million miles away from from the facts on the ground. The United States reached deals with Canada and Australia in two years so no one will seriously believe it will take five times as long to conclude a UK deal.
“No American President would consider giving up as much sovereignty as we have. This referendum is about us regaining our independence as a nation and taking back control of our economy, our borders and the £350 million we hand to Brussels each week.”
The US has previously concluded major free trade agreements in under two years. The UK can expect the same.
- The US-Australia free trade agreement was concluded in less than two years. Formal negotiations for a free trade agreement began in Canberra on 18 March 2003. The agreement came into effect on 1 January 2005. The US Government states that: ‘as a result of the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement, tariffs that averaged 4.3 percent were eliminated on more than 99% of the tariff lines for U.S. manufactured goods exports to Australia’.
- The US-Canada free trade agreement was negotiated in less than two years. According to the Government of Canada, ‘In 1987, both countries agreed to the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA). Negotiations toward a free trade agreement with the U.S. began in 1986. The two nations agreed to a historic agreement that placed Canada and the United States at the forefront of trade liberalization. Key elements of the agreement included the elimination of tariffs, the reduction of many non-tariff barriers, and it was among the first trade agreements to address trade in services. It also included a dispute settlement mechanism for the fair and expeditious resolution of trade disputes’.
- The US-Morocco free trade agreement was negotiated in less than two years. According to the US Government, ‘His Majesty King Mohammed VI and President Bush agreed to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement in April, 2002. Negotiations began in January 2003 and agreement was reached in March 2004’.
- The US-Chile free trade agreement was negotiated in two and a half years. The Organization of American States notes that: ‘Chile and the United States announced their negotiations towards a free trade agreement on 29 November 2000. Negotiations began December 6-7, 2000 in Washington D.C. and concluded 11 December 2002. The agreement was signed in Miami on 6 June 2003’.
The US has concluded trade agreements with far smaller countries than the UK. As the fifth largest economy in the world, and a major export market for the US, the United Kingdom is extremely well placed to secure a swift deal.
- The US currently has 20 free trade agreements in force, including with countries such as Bahrain, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Many of these are with far smaller economies than the UK. They include Australia (population: 23.4 million); Bahrain (population: 1.36 million); Canada (population: 35.5 million); Chile (population: 17.7 million); Colombia (population: 47.8 million); Costa Rica (population: 4.7 million); Dominican Republic (population: 10.4 million); El Salvador (population: 6.1 million); Guatemala (population: 16.0 million); Honduras (population: 7.9 million); Israel (population: 8.2 million); Jordan (population: 6.6 million); South Korea (population: 50.4 million); Morocco (population: 33.9 million); Nicaragua (population: 6.0 million); Oman (population: 4.2 million); Panama (population: 3.8 million); Peru (population: 30.9 million) and Singapore (population: 5.5 million) World Bank Statistics, 2016.
- The UK is a major export market for the US. In 2015, the US exported $119.3 billion of goods and services to the UK. This amounts to 5.37% of total US exports of goods and services. It is therefore in the US’s interests to strike a free trade agreement.
The US is only negotiating one trade agreement at present. The ‘queue’ is not very long.
- The US is currently negotiating one trade agreement. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, ‘The United States has completed negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and is in negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union, with the objective of shaping a high-standard, broad-based regional pact’.