How the Post-Brexit U.S.-U.K. Trade Deal Lost Momentum 


One premise of Brexit was that the U.K. could make better trade deals for itself if no longer bound by the EU’s. “We hear that we’re first in line to do a great free trade deal with the United States,” Johnson told reporters in January 2017, visiting the U.S. as Donald Trump was preparing to take office. (Johnson at the time was U.K. foreign secretary.) One of the U.S. Republican senators he met with, Bob Corker, echoed that idea, saying a U.S.-U.K. deal would “be our priority.” Trump was an early supporter of Brexit and, as president, promised a “fantastic and big” trade deal with Johnson. For Trump, this was an early opportunity to repudiate his predecessor, Barack Obama, who had warned ahead of Britain’s 2016 Brexit referendum that the U.K. would be at the “back of the queue” for a trade deal if it decided to leave the EU.


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