The Tory government has talked up the idea of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US, but Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum on its allies has led to mockery of the so-called ‘special relationship.’
Amid fears the tariffs will deal a huge blow to the struggling UK steel industry, some political figures and prominent UK journalists have flocked to Twitter to condemn the Brexiteers for putting the UK at risk of being “eaten alive” by trade tariffs once it leaves the EU.
Many also hit out at No.10 over its “delusional” claim the UK enjoyed a “special relationship” with the US that would see Britain benefit from Trump’s ‘America First’ policy.
The UK has zero bargaining power with the US over #steel tariffs thanks to #Brexit and is super vulnerable right now. Our delusional pro-Brexit politicians will allow our health and agricultural industries to be eaten alive by a President Trump putting America first.
— Dr Matt Prescott (@mattprescott) June 1, 2018
Does anyone think it’s remotely possible for UK to have trade deal with US after Trump slaps tariffs on EU steel and aluminium? Trump has unleashed trade war. Must be condemned unreservedly.
— Roland Rudd (@RolandRudd) May 31, 2018
UK seems to be lagging behind EU nations, Canada and Mexico in the vocality of its response to new US tariffs – could it be because of what it suggests about any future trade deal? https://t.co/RgfKQyCQ5S
— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) May 31, 2018
Others criticized the UK for courting the controversial Republican leader while all it got in return is tariffs.
Shadow International Trade Secretary Berry Gardiner said the UK should not be “cowed” by the US decision to impose the tariffs.
He told the ‘Today’ program: “Theresa May has really not managed to persuade Mr Trump at all to abandon the plans that he’s had, despite the fact we’ve now had two months where they have been on hold. All this special relationship – the idea that we are going to secure a special deal once we’ve left the EU with America – it is a nonsense.”
He warned Trump’s latest move doesn’t bode well for a post-Brexit UK trying to hammer out trade deals with countries outside the EU.
Gardiner said the UK would be “infinitely more vulnerable” to trade wars with non-EU countries “because we will not have the weight of a 500 million-strong consumer market behind us.”
This is correct. The UK could, for example, retaliate to steel tariffs by shutting Trump’s Scottish golf courses down. https://t.co/Bm4tWC0tZL
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 1, 2018
I saw @SKinnock on C4 News saying THOUSANDS of British steelmaking jobs could be at risk because of Trump’s tariffs.
The UK has lost any influence in the EU because of Brexit, but the EU will nonetheless pitch in and fight for our jobs.
The moral? Know who your friends are.
— Brexit Job Losses 🇬🇧 (@MrHickmott) May 31, 2018
But, But, But….. Our Special Relationship…..
AND….. She held his hand!
“Donald Trump slapped a whopping 25% levy on British steel last night — firing the starting gun in a trade war that looks set to put jobs at risk & push up prices.”
— OliveClough (@CloughOlive) June 1, 2018
Can you believe it. Trump slaps a tariff on Steel and Aluminium which is against the WTO laws. Imagine any trade agreement with America after Brexit will e written in sand. They will have us over barrel. Uk committing economic suicide.
— Mikke The Busby Babe (@trickimickey) June 1, 2018
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who last year went to Washington to pave the way for what Trump had said would be a “big” trade deal with the UK, branded the president’s tariffs “patently absurd.”
“We absolutely do not rule out counter measures. And we do not rule out taking a dispute to the World Trade Organisation at Geneva. Obviously, we still hope the United States will think again about this. But, it would be a great pity if we ended up in a tit-for-tat trade dispute with our closest allies.”
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