First published: Prospectmagazine.co.uk, 27/01/2017
Today’s Trump-May press conference contained nothing of substance on the matter—and no wonder
Standing next to President Donald Trump, Theresa May spoke for rather longer than her host at their first press conference on Friday. The president said nothing at all about trade, while the Prime Minister left it to the end of her remarks to say that both sides aimed to build on their commercial relationship and that a trade deal would be in the interest of both countries. It is a bigger deal for the UK than for the US, but how should we assess the outlook and prospects?
For May, meeting Trump was an opportunity to show to people here at home—and also the European Union—that the UK is making Brexit plans involving the US. For Trump, backing Brexit offered another opportunity to show antipathy for the EU. He couldn’t actually care less about a trade agreement with the UK other than as a further expression of the Administration’s new trade strategies—to focus on bilateral trade deals, where the US can impose its economic heft and leverage, rather than regional deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership from which the US has just withdrawn….Read more: