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  • John Bolton is leading trade negotiations with the UK

    John Bolton is leading trade negotiations with the UK | Photo: Flickr

Published 14 August 2019

"He [John Bolton] is dangling the hope of a fast-track trade deal in return for support for his hawkish plans.”

The post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S., currently in negotiation, will leave Britain more dependent and more tied into military cooperation with the United States. The deal is also likely to involve watering down of workers rights and environmental laws, all at orders from the United States, a British anti-war organization has warned. 

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Asad Rehman from U.K.'s global justice charity War On Want, said Tuesday that Britain is likely to be forced into disadvantageous terms, including new military cooperation dragging the country into wars.

As Britain leaves the EU, it’s in search of wide-ranging trade deals to replace the agreements they had with Europe. Since the U.K. government is unlikely to look to Russia or China, the U.S. is seen as the best hope for such agreements and new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it clear that securing a trade deal with Washington is a priority for his government. 

Rehman pointed out that a U.S. official with no economic experience is the one negotiating with London an economic deal post Brexit. “John Bolton is national security negotiator and knows very little about the trade” meaning that “he is dangling the hope of a fast-track trade deal in return for support for his hawkish plans.”

There are concerns that British overeagerness for post-Brexit deals may mean that the U.S. will look to exploit the opportunity. In early August, Larry Summer, former U.S. treasury secretary, told the BBC that “Britain has no leverage, Britain is desperate … it needs an agreement very soon. When you have a desperate partner, that’s when you strike the hardest bargain.” 

Another charity, Global Justice Now, also added that “John Bolton is a war criminal who shouldn’t have been let into the country, let alone invited to outline the foreign policy price of a US-UK trade deal. It’s abundantly clear that Trump plans to extract maximum value out of Boris Johnson’s desperation to do any post-Brexit trade deal.”

Other conditions being made by the U.S. include demanding that the U.K. scrap their tax on big tech corporations, saying that there will be no deal at all without that demand being met. The tax, set to come into effect in 2020 was aimed at large tech firms, most of which are from the United States. The U.S. had previously threatened France with tariffs if they did not comply, and now is threatening the U.K.. 

Sources from the Trump administration spoke to the Daily Telegraph saying that the threat had been "communicated to the UK government at multiple levels...if you go ahead and introduce this tax, we will not begin free trade negotiations with you'." 

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