Brexit backlash: Bernie Sanders poised to shatter Boris Johnson’s US trade deal hopes
BREXIT supporters have often touted an ambitious free trade agreement with US President Donald Trump as a key benefit of Britain’s EU withdrawal – but, should he be defeated in the US general election this November, his main opponent will likely rip up negotiations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly looking to kick start trade talks with President Trump in the next two weeks as he sets the UK’s agenda for life out of the EU. International trade agreements are famously hard to conclude – but Mr Johnson’s prospects will not be made any easier if, after November, he has to negotiate with a new President. The Democratic Party is currently selecting its candidate for the presidential elections this year, and the leadership bid is currently being led by left-wing Bernie Sanders.
He leads with 34 delegates, and claimed a victory in the state of Nevada with a huge share of the vote having lost there to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Mr Sanders could well be the challenger in the US vote this year, and should he oust President Trump from the White House, it is likely he could abandon trade talks with Mr Johnson.
That’s because the Vermont Senator has been a staunch opponent of free trade agreements in the past.
In 2016, he said: “I do not believe in unfettered free trade. I believe in fair trade which works for the middle class and working families, not just large multinational corporations.
Brexit news: Sanders is opposed to free trade agreements
Brexit news: Johnson is looking to secure a free trade agreement with the US
“I was on the picket line in opposition to NAFTA. We heard people tell us how many jobs would be created.
“I didn’t believe that for a second because I understood what the function of NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, and the TPP is, it’s to say to American workers, hey, you are now competing against people in Vietnam who make 56 cents an hour minimum wage.”
NAFTA is a free trade agreement between the US and Canada, and was criticised by Mr Sanders as serving corporate interests.
Brexit news: Sanders is leading the Democratic Party primaries
He also slammed other deals in 2015, saying: “We must end our disastrous trade policies which enable corporate America to shut down plants in this country and move to China and other low-wage countries.
“We need to end the race to the bottom and develop trade policies which demand that American corporations create jobs here, and not abroad.”
While Mr Sanders has not voiced his views on a potential US-UK trade agreement, he has previously stated that he would use tariffs as a negotiating tool if he wins the White House – a remarkably Trump-like policy.
When asked by CNN if he would use tariffs in August, he said: “Yeah of course, it is used in a rational way within the context of a broad, sensible trade policy. It is one tool that is available.”
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