Monday, January 25, 2021
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Biden faces challenges from Brexit


#President-elect #Joe #Biden#Joe #BidenGeorgia signature audit finds no fraud in presidential election #Pence refused to sign on to plan to overturn election, lawyers say #New #Lincoln #Project ad shows #Trump border wall built from tombstones of COVID-19 victims MORE faces key challenges in reshaping the U.S. relationships with #Great #Britain and the #European #Union even after the #Brexit trade deal completed last week that concludes the #United #Kingdom’s exit from the economic union.

The agreement means the U.K. and E.U. will not have to spend the majority of 2021 or longer duking it out over #Brexit, which would have distracted from a slate of looming issues involving the international community, ranging from COVID-19 to #China.

“It means less of a headache for him. #He’s dodged a couple of bullets,” #Jacob #Kirkegaard, nonresident senior fellow with the #Peterson #Institute for #International #Economics, said of #Biden.

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“It means that two traditional #American allies in #Europe are not at loggerheads, so #Biden doesn’t need to play peacemaker from day one.”

#In one regard, the agreement is an early success for #Biden, whose victory in #November’s election added to the already-high pressure #British #Prime #Minister #Boris #Johnson faced to strike a deal with the #European #Union before the year ended.

The new deal met one major objective from #Biden by ensuring there would be no hard customs border between #Ireland, a part of the E.U., and #Northern #Ireland, a part of the U.K.

#Biden wanted to ensure the #Good #Friday #Agreement that brought peace to #Northern #Ireland wasn’t endangered by #Brexit.

“The UK heard a clear message from #Joe #Biden: #Don’t mess with the #Good #Friday #Agreement,” said #Heather #Conley, senior vice president at CSIS and former deputy assistant secretary of state in the #Bureau of #European and #Eurasian #Affairs under #George W. #Bush. “They heard that message and responded.”

#Yet #Brexit still may create more challenges than opportunities for #Biden, who along with former #President #Obama opposed #Great #Britain’s exit from the E.U.

#Top of the list will be sorting how the #American companies will be affected by the deal. #For decades, the U.K. has been a base and conduit for #American companies seeking access to the #European market. #Now that the U.K. and E.U. have split, the #Biden administration will have to sort out rules for #American companies involved in all manner of transatlantic trade.

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“The next administration will need to be very alert to the negative impact of the new agreement on U.S. companies in the U.K.,” #Conley said. “The first priority is to make sure U.S. companies and their employees don’t accidently become collateral damage.”

#For example, last week’s trade deal did not cover trade in services or financial issues, both major components of modern economic trade.

The U.K. will be looking to negotiate a trade deal with the #United #States, but #Conley said the absence of a financial services deal between the U.K. and E.U. will complicate those efforts.

#Biden himself has brushed off the idea of a quick trade agreement.

“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 and in education,” he told The #New #York #Times earlier in #December.

#Another complication is that the fast-track law that prevents #Congress from amending trade deals — something seen as a necessity to negotiate such pacts — expires in months.

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#Ben #Judah, a nonresident senior fellow at The #Atlantic #Council, says #Brexit presents the U.S. with some opportunities as well.

#When it was part of the E.U., the U.K. was obligated to side with #France, #Germany and other EU members against the U.S. in certain trade disputes.

#Now, if it wants to side on an issue with the U.S., it can do so and put more pressure on its former colleagues in the E.U. The E.U. and U.S., for example, are now involved in major disputes over aerospace subsidies, digital taxation, and privacy.

The same is true on a broader array of foreign policy issues.

“The U.S. doesn’t actually have that many close #Democratic allies on the world stage that share opinions on #China and #Russia. There are only a handful of them, and the U.K. is one of them,” #Judah noted.

#For example, the E.U. and #China are reportedly on the brink of a major investment deal with the support of all 27 E.U. member countries. #Some argue that a pre-Brexit U.K. could have voiced concern or even scuttled such a deal.

#Strong collaboration between the U.K. and U.S. could help set a standard when confronting #China, or on other #Biden priorities such as climate change.

#Still, #Kirkegaard says the overall thrust of #Brexit is a blow for #Biden’s foreign policy ambitions. “Strategically, it is the reality that for a multilateralist administration, #Brexit is a setback,” he said.

#In #Great #Britain, there are also worries that #Brexit will make the U.K. less of a priority for the U.S., special relationship or no, because of its size relative to the E.U. as a whole.

“Suddenly, we are no longer an irreplaceable bridge between #Europe and #America. #We are now less relevant to them both,” former #British #Prime #Minister #John #Major, a #Conservative, said last month. “In recent decades, we have consoled ourselves that we ‘punch above our weight’ in international affairs. I think that was true — but that was then, and this is now.”

#Kirkegaard said the U.K.’s strategic importance is diminished, and that if the U.S. wanted to pick #Trump-style trade fights, it would now have an easier time with the U.K.

The #Biden administration might also want to think twice about taking steps that might appear to “reward” #Brexit, such as striking favorable deals on trade.

“If you’re the #Biden administration, you fundamentally view the E.U. as a strategic partner on anything from #China to climate change. #So you wouldn’t want the E.U. to break up further,” said #Kirkegaard.

“There is an incentive to signal to other countries that they’re not going to reward you for leaving the E.U.”





[ source link ]
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/532008-biden-faces-challenges-from-brexit

##Biden #faces #challenges ##Brexit

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