Biden’s election victory may have ‘silver lining’ making UK-US Brexit trade deal ‘easier’

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Earlier this month, Mr Biden defeated rival and Republican Mr Trump to become the 46th President of the US in what will be remembered as one of the most bitter and ferocious elections in recent history. The UK is currently in the midst of thrashing out deals with countries around the world to rubber stamp trading terms when Britain fully cuts ties with the European Union on December 31. Free trade agreements (FTA) have been signed with the likes of Japan, while there are firm plans for deals with the likes of Canada and Australia, with attention now turning to negotiations with the Biden administration on an FTA with the US.

Mr Trump was often vocal in his support of Brexit and spoke highly of the possibility of a lucrative trade deal between the US and UK.

But new US President Mr Biden has been extremely critical of the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill, which risks overriding key elements of the Withdrawal Agreement signed with the EU, thus breaking international law.

The legislation would break the Northern Ireland protocol of the divorce treaty that seeks to avoid a physical customs border between the British province and EU-member Ireland.

Mr Biden, who has often referred to the importance of his Irish heritage, has warned the UK must honour the Northern Ireland peace agreement when it leaves the EU at the end of this year, or else there can be no separate US trade deal.

The UK Government and Mr Johnson are refusing to stand down – despite the Bill suffering a crushing defeat in the House of Lords earlier this week.

But Anand Menon, director at the UK in a Changing Europe think tank, told Express.co.uk: “One of the reasons Trump expressed an interest in a trade deal with the UK was he liked to be seen to be supporting Brexit, and also didn’t like the European Union. Neither of those things are true of Biden.

“When I say Trump was quite keen to sign a trade deal with the UK, he wasn’t going to be nice to us and make any concessions because ‘America First’ meant ‘America First’.

“Biden will be in less of a rush, although I’m sure we will start negotiating a trade deal with the US.

“But the silver lining to Biden is that Trump was stratospherically unpopular in the UK.

“People were very suspicious, particularly after Labour weaponised it all during the general election campaign about US plans for the National Health Service (NHS).

“Politically, a trade deal signed with Joe Biden will be easier to get past politics at home than a trade deal signed with Donald Trump.

“Even though it might take longer, it might be politically easier to get it accepted at home by negotiating a trade deal with a Biden America as opposed to a Trump America.”

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Earlier this week, Mr Johnson sought to allay concerns from Mr Biden that Brexit could damage the Northern Ireland peace process during the first phone call since the US president-elect triumphed over Mr Trump.

The warnings from the former US Vice President over Brexit have increased fears the Prime Minister may have a strained relationship with Mr Biden.

But they reportedly spoke for around 25 minutes in which Mr Biden’s transition team said he thanked Mr Johnson for his congratulations and expressed his desire to “strengthen the special relationship” and “reaffirmed his support for the Good Friday Agreement”.

A Downing Street source said: “They talked about the importance of implementing Brexit in such a way that upholds the Good Friday Agreement, and the PM assured the president-elect that would be the case.”

Following the call, Mr Johnson tweeted: “I just spoke to @JoeBiden to congratulate him on his election.

“I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and to working with him on our shared priorities, from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy and building back better from the pandemic.”

Downing Street also said the Prime Minister had invited Mr Biden to the UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, due to take place in Glasgow next year.

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